Bipartisan Bill Aims to Support Firefighters Diagnosed With Cancer

March 27, 2023 by Dan McCue
Bipartisan Bill Aims to Support Firefighters Diagnosed With Cancer
(Photo by Fish 96 via Pixabay)

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan Senate bill would expand access to federal support for the families of firefighters and first responders who died as a result of carcinogenic exposure during their service.

The bill introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., would also extend disability benefits in cases where firefighters and first responders become permanently and totally disabled due to cancer.  

Currently, firefighters are only eligible for support under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program for physical injuries sustained in the line of duty, or for deaths from duty-related heart attacks, strokes, mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and 9/11-related illnesses. 

Bipartisan companion legislation in the House is being led by Reps. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla.

“Firefighters and first responders put their lives and health on the line every day and have an increased risk of receiving devastating diagnoses many years after exposure to carcinogens,” Cramer said. “Our bill expands benefits to include occupationally connected cancers to care for those who protect our communities.”

The legislation was introduced in honor of Michael Paidar, a Maple Grove and St. Paul, Minnesota, fire captain who died of an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia on Aug. 26, 2020. 

In 2021, after strong advocacy from the Paidar family, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety awarded line-of-duty benefits to his widow Julie, the first time that a firefighter’s family had received benefits for cancer incurred in the line of duty through Minnesota’s state public safety benefits program. 

The Honoring Our Fallen Heroes Act would ensure that firefighters across the country are eligible to receive similar benefits under the federal PSOB program. 

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe and are often exposed to carcinogens that can have lethal long-term effects,” Klobuchar said.

“It’s unacceptable that firefighters who succumb to cancer from work-related exposure or become permanently and totally disabled don’t receive the same treatment as others who die in the line of duty,” she continued.

“That’s why Sen. Cramer and I are working to ensure that firefighters get the support they’ve earned,” she said.

The legislation is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Association of Police Organizations, National Volunteer Fire Council, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Congressional Fire Services Institute, and Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

A+
a-
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • bipartisan
  • emergency responders
  • firefighters
  • health
  • Senate
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    U.S. Senate

    May 22, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Senators Say State Abortion Ban Causing Exodus of Women’s Health Care Providers

    WASHINGTON — A trio of Democratic senators assailed abortion bans in Republican-led states on Tuesday, pointing to a new report... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A trio of Democratic senators assailed abortion bans in Republican-led states on Tuesday, pointing to a new report that suggests those laws are forcing women’s health care providers to turn away patients, shut down practices and abandon those states altogether for fear of prosecution... Read More

    May 15, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Sanders Says Weight Loss Drugs Could Bankrupt US Health Care System

    WASHINGTON — The sky-high prices of a pair of new weight loss drugs could push annual spending on prescription drugs... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The sky-high prices of a pair of new weight loss drugs could push annual spending on prescription drugs in the United States to over $1 trillion and effectively bankrupt the American health care system in the process, according to a new report released by... Read More

    May 10, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization in Resounding Fashion

    WASHINGTON — After days of debate over amendments that had nothing to do with air travel and were ultimately shelved,... Read More

    WASHINGTON — After days of debate over amendments that had nothing to do with air travel and were ultimately shelved, the Senate on Thursday night passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill in resounding, bipartisan fashion. The final vote, which extends the FAA’s authority for five... Read More

    May 8, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Schumer Urges Colleagues to Act With Urgency on FAA Bill

    WASHINGTON — With his chamber at an impasse, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the floor of the Senate... Read More

    WASHINGTON — With his chamber at an impasse, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to urge his colleagues to “work constructively and with urgency” toward an agreement on the five-year FAA reauthorization bill. “Nobody — absolutely nobody —... Read More

    May 3, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Bipartisan Senate Bill Aims to Take the Mystery Out of Menopause

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan Senate bill would provide $275 million to advance federal research and enhance medical services for women... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan Senate bill would provide $275 million to advance federal research and enhance medical services for women experiencing menopause. The bill, the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act, was introduced Thursday by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Appropriations... Read More

    The Unexpected, Under-the-Radar Senate Race in Michigan That Could Determine Control of the Chamber

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Elissa Slotkin had less than half an hour to reckon with a retirement announcement that would... Read More

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Elissa Slotkin had less than half an hour to reckon with a retirement announcement that would reshape Michigan’s political landscape. The state's senior senator and the third-ranking Democrat in the chamber, Debbie Stabenow, was about to reveal that she would retire in 2024.... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top