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house Bill H.R. 6509

Should There Be Death & Permanent Disability Benefits for Public Safety Officers Who Get Coronavirus in the Line of Duty?

Argument in favor

Public safety officers — including firefighters, EMTs, and police officers — should receive benefits if they become permanently disabled or die after contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. This bill would ensure their eligibility and give the officers & their families peace of mind.

larubia's Opinion
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05/26/2020
There should be disability & death benefits FOR ALL ESSENTIAL WORKERS during this pandemic! You know who should pay for it? Those who are profiting: Big Pharma, Health Insurance Companies, Big Meat Processing companies, Amazon (Lord knows Jeff has saved enough in taxes!), Walmart (don’t get me started), etc. This isn’t hard.
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jimK's Opinion
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05/26/2020
Even though this is already part of a DOJ program, this legislation codifies a particular need for first responders making it less likely to be arbitrarily denied. None of our first responders nor our health care workers planned to risk their lives in the daily pursuit of their careers; particularly those who are not provided appropriate protective gear, because our federal government did not respond to early and many pleas to use the full power of our government to get critical PPE gear to all who needed it. Yes, all these people need assurances that their families will not be punished because of the jobs they were required to do, and the risks they were required to take because our national leadership did not care to act proactively.
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Leslie's Opinion
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05/26/2020
It is a war & those on the front lines should be taken care of so they can focus on the battle. Knowing their families will be provided for if injured or killed is an important piece of taking care of front line workers.
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Argument opposed

Public safety officers who become disabled or die after contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty are already eligible to make claims from the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit program according to the DOJ. This bill isn’t necessary because it just temporarily codifies existing policy.

John's Opinion
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05/27/2020
Not unless and includes all front line workers who've been forced to endure this same issue as these security officers. Stop making it all about one small part of who gets this and think a little future forwards. There are way more front line workers who are catching and dying from this major disease. Thank you.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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05/26/2020
Maybe on the disability, a case by case basis, not just an automatic permanent disability for people that recover, some of which aren't effected as bad as others are. A responsible person is already insured, they are already going to leave something for their loved ones if they die for any reason. Our spending deficit is too high to cover the pay out of death benefits of the irresponsible, that don't pay into their own life insurance policy. So, all around, its a no from me.
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James's Opinion
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05/27/2020
Why am I saying NO? I am a Veteran first of all wether I’m still in or out of the Military makes no difference! As I work for an Essential Business/ Company that produces materials fir the Military, NASA etc; I’m very essential it it doesn’t get out the door! We can’t have so calked social distancing in my job as police and fire/ rescue, hospital personal! Who pays me if I come down with this Communist Chinese Virus?
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What is House Bill H.R. 6509?

This bill — the Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 — would allow public safety officers who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) in the line of duty and become disabled or die from the illness can receive benefits from the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB) program in the Dept. of Justice (DOJ). Public safety officers would be eligible if they contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty between January 20, 2020, and one year after the president’s emergency declaration concludes.

Additionally, this bill would clarify that public safety officers who were injured or disabled in the line of duty in relation to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and also contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty will be eligible to receive benefits under the PSOB program.

Impact

Public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty; and the DOJ’s PSOB.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6509

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced this bill to extend disability benefits to public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty:

“Whether they are law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical technicians, public safety officers selflessly put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. During this time of crisis, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, public safety officers remain on call 24-7, which puts them at serious risk for exposure.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) added:

“America’s public safety officers are out on the frontlines of this pandemic keeping American up and running as best they can. They are risking their lives to protect all of our communities from this virus. Our heroes deserve the peace of mind that their loved ones will be eligible for support by the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program.”

The DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in April 2020 clarified that PSOB covers disability & deaths stemming from COVID-19 because it covers infectious diseases, viruses, and bacteria a public safety officer was exposed to in the line of duty. The PSOB requires a claimant to show that it’s more likely than not the public safety officer was exposed in the line of duty when it was medically possible, and that they did contract COVID-19 within a timeframe that’s medically possible following that exposure.

This legislation has the support of 20 cosponsors in the House, including 19 Democrats and one Republican.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / IVAN ARAGON ALONSO)

AKA

Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020

Official Title

To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide public safety officer death and disability benefits for certain public safety officers who contract COVID-19, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedApril 14th, 2020
    There should be disability & death benefits FOR ALL ESSENTIAL WORKERS during this pandemic! You know who should pay for it? Those who are profiting: Big Pharma, Health Insurance Companies, Big Meat Processing companies, Amazon (Lord knows Jeff has saved enough in taxes!), Walmart (don’t get me started), etc. This isn’t hard.
    Like (65)
    Follow
    Share
    Not unless and includes all front line workers who've been forced to endure this same issue as these security officers. Stop making it all about one small part of who gets this and think a little future forwards. There are way more front line workers who are catching and dying from this major disease. Thank you.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Even though this is already part of a DOJ program, this legislation codifies a particular need for first responders making it less likely to be arbitrarily denied. None of our first responders nor our health care workers planned to risk their lives in the daily pursuit of their careers; particularly those who are not provided appropriate protective gear, because our federal government did not respond to early and many pleas to use the full power of our government to get critical PPE gear to all who needed it. Yes, all these people need assurances that their families will not be punished because of the jobs they were required to do, and the risks they were required to take because our national leadership did not care to act proactively.
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    It is a war & those on the front lines should be taken care of so they can focus on the battle. Knowing their families will be provided for if injured or killed is an important piece of taking care of front line workers.
    Like (43)
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    Absolutely! These folks put their lives on the line as it is. In this instance they are also putting their families in jeopardy. They serve and protect us so we need to have their backs!
    Like (23)
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    YES. Take care of this now so these people don't suffer the same promises and delays of the first responders on 911. Are you aware that they are still fighting for the compensation they were promised 10 years ago? In February 2019, the Special Master administering the fund "determined that there is not sufficient funding to pay all pending and projected claims," and cut pending claims by 50% and new claims by 70%.[19] On June 11, 2019, Jon Stewart testified before the House Judiciary Committee, demanding additional funding. "I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic. But I'm angry, and you should be too, and they're all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way. There is not a person here, there is not an empty chair on that stage that didn't tweet out 'Never Forget the heroes of 9/11. Never forget their bravery. Never forget what they did, what they gave to this country.' Well, here they are. And where are they? And it would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it's not. Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It's the one thing they're running out of."
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    Yes, and as others have stated it should be extended to protect all essential workers. ——- However, I would like to point out that Chris’ comment comparing the COVID19 pandemic to the flu IS misinformation and damaging to public health and safety. Similarly Ryan’s comment calling the COVID19 pandemic the Wuhan virus is inflammatory and at its core hate speech. Neither are protected under 1st amendment rights, and both are highly destructive. Going forward we must all work together to combat negative feedback loops destroying our democracy. THIS INCLUDES ALL THOSE AT COUNTABLE. Source: Network Propaganda by Hal Roberts, Robert Faris, and Yochai Benkler
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    If we can bail out Trump and his buddies with billions of dollars we can make sure those putting their lives on the line get taken care of. Trumplicans cry about wearing a mask but don’t think twice about Moscow trying to pass legislation making employers exempt from being responsible for the virus and it’s spread at work.
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    They have some of the worst jobs in our country. We owe them the most protection, the most remuneration, and the most gratitude we can muster.
    Like (15)
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    Public Safety Officers should have benefits which cover becoming disabled or death due to ALL line-of-duty circumstances. I urge Luetkemeyer to be sure such coverage is in place. If Covid-19 is not already included in benefits, Vote YEA on H.R. 6509.
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    Yea... but please extend this to more than the listed group
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    This should NOT EVEN BE A QUESTION. Of course these people who are on the Front Line against this epidemic should be taken care of just as our veterans should be taken care of. That means we need to take better care of our Veterans too. Trump is using them as guinea pigs for the stupid medicine he has stockpiled to get a dollar for it. Thank goodness they have stopped that use of veterans for crazy drugs.
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    Message for Christy and everybody thinking the same thing “oh my God who’s gonna pay for this “this administration, the trump administration has gotten this country in more debt than any other administration in history. We are in more debt than any other country in the world in history. It is taken Trump and the Republicans 3 1/2 years to wreck this country. Incidentally are you aware that every time Donald Trump plays golf (Which he does most every weekend) the cost to the taxpayers 3 1/2 million dollars, which incidentally he’s doing even while this pandemic is taking place. How long is it going to take you personally to save up 3 1/2 million dollars to pay for just one of trumps golf games? If you liked him or not when Bill Clinton left office we had a surplus.Trump has from the outset run a massive deficit. It started with a republican tax cuts for the wealthy I’m talking about people who make millions of dollars a year. I’m guessing most people make less than that and they think because they got a pittance they did pretty well but it’s nothing compared to what the wealthy got. Look at Trump he claims that he made billions without paying taxes and he’s proud of it. So the tax cut put us on the precipice, and then came the virus which has pushed us over the cliff because there was no reserve. Any simpleton running a household tries to have savings in case of emergency it’s pretty basic thinking. But it’s not basic thinking for this administration, because they didn’t even think. So here we are trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt because of the Republicans stupidity and greed led by Donald Trump. Trump who is I’m sure the most intellectually stymied person to ever sit in the White House.
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    No need. It’s already covered. Duplicate legislation.
    Like (9)
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    These men and women are putting their lives on the line for the safety of others. Absolutely, they should receive benefits. These public safety officers are working very hard to help others with COVID-19 and prevent the spread of it.
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    Awesome bill! Save lives. Great idea! Say yes! They do a lot for us!
    Like (8)
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    They are doing their job. Although we may not like the things they sometimes do. They get up and put on a uniform and try to do what many of us wouldn’t do. And if they receive any sort of injury including death while performing their duty they should be duly compensated.
    Like (7)
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    All essential workers should have these benefits. Stop being cheap asses and take care of people.
    Like (7)
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    Everyone who risks their lives to work through Corona Virus deserves financial protection. For that matter, all Americans deserve financial protection. This is a pandemic. This is a crisis. We all deserve health care.
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    😷 Absolutely!
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