The Secret Service might not be able to pay agents’ salaries for the rest of the year due to the White House’s high travel costs.
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According to USA Today, the agency currently protects 42 individuals, 18 of which are Trump family members. That’s a jump from the 31 protectees under former President Obama’s administration. President Donald Trump also takes trips almost every weekend to his own properties — primarily in Florida, Virginia and New Jersey — which take more manpower and money to secure and protect, according to the Washington Post’s math. The agency also follows members of the First Family when they travel both across the country and around the world for business trips.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, told USAToday. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Alles is currently in talks with lawmakers to raise the agents’ salary cap from $160,000 to $187,000. Members including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Sen. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) have expressed an interest in solving the issue and concerns with strains on the budget.
The high cost of protecting the First Family doesn’t entirely come as a surprise — Cummings drew attention to budgeting issues last year. But leaving a president unprotected or Secret Service agents unpaid aren’t options. Perhaps it’s a question of what is a reasonable amount of presidential travel for which the American taxpayer should foot the bill.