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The Associated Press February 17, 2011, 9:37AM ET

Obama budget reduces border agents overtime pay

Border Patrol agents would lose money under a change in the overtime pay proposed in the $3.7 trillion budget President Barack Obama sent Congress Monday, the agent's union said Wednesday.

The proposal is an attempt to save $110 million by changing the overtime system for Border Patrol agents, who are paid time and a half for their first ten hours of overtime per week, and half-time for any additional unscheduled overtime hours. The president's budget proposes to pay agents straight-time for their first ten hours of overtime per week, and no compensation for any additional, unscheduled overtime hours.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was scheduled to testify on her department's budget at a Thursday Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing.

A Homeland Security Department budget document says the change would take care of waste and inefficiency that exist because of the merger of U.S. Border Patrol, Customs agents from the Treasury department and food and plant inspectors from the Agriculture department to form Customs and Border Protection.

T.J. Bonner, the union's president, says border inspectors earn double time and will continue to get that, so the change won't make overtime consistent.

"They are trying to save money on the backs of agents," said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the agents' union.

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