Pascrell Leads Bipartisan Legislation for First Responders
Bill will improve access and benefits for those injured in the line of duty and their families
Washington, May 17, 2019
Tags: Public Safety
Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-chair of both the Congressional Law Enforcement and Fire Services Caucuses, and Reps. Peter King (R-NY-02), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), John Rutherford (R-FL-04), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-01), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) introduced the Protecting America’s First Responders Act. This bipartisan legislation would help first responders and their families receive access to financial support for injuries incurred in the line of duty. The bill closes a loophole in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program to give fire police officers the ability to receive the benefits from the program. The bill also updates PSOB regulations to reduce delays and inconstant adjudication of disability claims for those who have become permanently and totally disabled as a result of personal injuries sustained in the line of duty.
“The brave men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe and their families must have the utmost support from the federal government -- especially those who have made drastic sacrifices in the line of duty,” said Rep. Pascrell. “First responders constitute both our first and last lines of defense. This much we know. What many don’t know, however, are the struggles many first responders and their families deal with after sustaining serious injuries or loss of life on the job. This legislation will directly assist those brave individuals struggling with lasting impacts of service. I am committed to seeing it fully passed into law.”
“First responders put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe,” said Rep. Mullin. “When public safety officers are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty, we should ensure they get the support they need and that’s what our bill does. I am proud to introduce this legislation during National Police Week, a week that honors our law enforcement officers and remembers the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect us.”
“Every community across the country relies on the brave men and women who serve on the police force or in the fire department. As a former law enforcement officer, I have seen what these first responders go through to protect our communities. When they are injured in the line of duty, they deserve our support,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “I am proud to support America’s first responders and their families by joining my colleagues to introduce this important bipartisan bill to ensure they receive the resources they need as they recover.”
“Our police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel stepped up to serve their community and when we need help, they answer our call. It is our duty to ensure those injured while protecting our community have the financial support they need for themselves and their family,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.
“Fire police officers protect both the public and their fellow first responders by securing the areas around dangerous emergencies,” said Rep. Courtney. “The PSOB program provides police officers, firefighters and their families with the assurance that our country will honor their service by providing certain benefits should they be killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty, and I’m pleased that our bill includes language from the Fire Police Fairness Act, a bill which I have introduced each Congress since 2011, that would ensure fire police officers across the country are also eligible for the PSOB program. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation, especially during National Police Week.”
A copy of the bill can be viewed here. Companion legislation (S.1208) was introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). S. 1208 passed by the Senate by voice vote earlier this week through Sen. Grassley’s efforts.