|Sponsor||Rep. Engel, Eliot L.|
|Date||September 22, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Adam Hepburn|
H.R. 1517 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) on March 16, 2010.
The House approved H.R. 1517 on December 15, 2009, by a vote of 414—1. The Senate passed the bill with an amendment on August 5, 2010, by unanimous consent.
The legislation would authorize the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to convert certain employees who serve under an overseas limited appointment to permanent appointments in the competitive service within the Border Patrol.
H.R. 1517 would permit the Border Patrol to convert an employee to a permanent appointment if the employee has completed at least two years of current continuous service of overseas limited appointments and his or her employment has been rated fully successful.
The bill would also require the federal government to indemnify and hold harmless employees covered under the measure from claims arising from the exercise of their duties before, on and after enactment data, including claims arising from their residency status.
Lastly, the bill would require that employees and their dependents receive services and monetary payments equivalent to those provided to other CBP employees in similar positions in the same country of assignment. The legislation clarifies that nothing in the bill should be construed as intending to authorize the payment of back wages or benefits to employees who undergo a status conversion.
The authority to convert employees' statuses would expire two years after enactment.
The Senate amendment to this legislation included language terminating, after two years, the authority to convert employees to permanent status. The Senate also added the provision clarifying no authorization for paying back wages or benefits as described above.
An estimated 25 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees stationed abroad initially received temporary appointments, but have remained in their jobs between eight and 20 years. Under international agreements reached after their hiring, and to address potential liabilities under the laws of the countries in which they work, they now must hold permanent positions or face termination of their employment. These employees, who were originally hired by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Department of Agriculture, work in Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and Ireland.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the measure would have no significant cost to the federal government.