Loading...

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Support Firefighters Diagnosed With Cancer

March 27, 2023 by Dan McCue
(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 dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

  • Amy Klobuchar
  • bipartisan
  • emergency responders
  • firefighters
  • health
  • Senate
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    U.S. Senate

    May 31, 2023
    by Tom Ramstack
    Government Seeks Better Information Tech but Faces High Costs and Security Risks

    WASHINGTON — Information technology officials told a Senate panel Wednesday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security needs to update its... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Information technology officials told a Senate panel Wednesday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security needs to update its computer systems even while the government struggles to pay its bills. The alternative could be hackers using artificial intelligence to breach government computers and to devastate... Read More

    No Debt Ceiling Agreement, but Biden and McCarthy Call Talks Productive

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy both said they had a productive debt ceiling discussion... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy both said they had a productive debt ceiling discussion late Monday at the White House, but there was no agreement as negotiators strained to raise the nation's borrowing limit in time to avert a potentially... Read More

    May 22, 2023
    by Dan McCue
    Tom Carper Opts Not to Make Reelection Bid

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Carper announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2024, capping a... Read More

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Carper announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2024, capping a 20-year career in the U.S. Senate. “If there’s ever an opportune time to step aside and pass the torch to the next generation … it will... Read More

    May 19, 2023
    by Dan McCue
    Sen. Tim Scott Officially Enters 2024 Presidential Contest

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., filed paperwork on Friday officially making him a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., filed paperwork on Friday officially making him a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Scott, the U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican, is scheduled to formally announce his entry into the race on Monday at Charleston Southern University, his alma mater,... Read More

    May 17, 2023
    by Tom Ramstack
    Senate Hears About the Promise and Risks of AI

    WASHINGTON — Information technology officials urged the Senate Tuesday not to overlook the dangers of artificial intelligence as they try... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Information technology officials urged the Senate Tuesday not to overlook the dangers of artificial intelligence as they try to use it to improve the efficiency of government and industry. During two Senate hearings, corporate, government and academic leaders discussed how the enormous potential of... Read More

    May 4, 2023
    by Dan McCue
    Bill Aims to Improve Access to Care for Sickle Cell Patients

    WASHINGTON — A new Senate bill, the Sickle Cell Care Expansion Act, would provide educational incentives and create competitive grants... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A new Senate bill, the Sickle Cell Care Expansion Act, would provide educational incentives and create competitive grants to help grow the number of health care workers trained to care for sickle cell disease patients. The lead sponsor of the bill is Sen. Chris... Read More

    News From The Well
    Exit mobile version