|Sponsor||Rep. Hanna, Richard|
|Committee||Oversight and Government Reform|
|Date||September 7, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)|
|Staff Contact||Sarah Makin|
On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2061, the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. H.R. 2061 was introduced by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) on May 31, 2011, and was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
H.R. 2061 would authorize the head of an executive federal agency to give a U.S. flag to the next of kin of a deceased employee who dies of injuries incurred in connection with such individual’s employment with the government. The bill would specify that the employee would have to die due to injuries sustained with a criminal act, an act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or other circumstance as determined by the President.
Agency heads would be authorized to give a flag upon request of the deceased employee's next of kin or another individual as determined by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Under the bill, agency heads would be required to inform employees of their eligibility for this benefit. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management would be authorized to prescribe regulations, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security. Any such regulations would require agency heads to consider the conditions and circumstances of the employee's death and nature of their service.
According to the sponsor’s office, nearly 3,000 federal civilian workers have died on the job since 1992. For those civilian employees who die in the course of service to their country, H.R. 2061 would authorize the presentation of a United States flag as a way to formally express sympathy and gratitude. There is currently no law authorizing the presentment of a flag to the families of civilian employees who lose their lives as a result of their employment. More than 100,000 civilian employees have served in Afghanistan and Iraq alongside military forces. Every year federal civilian employees are killed at home and abroad while doing their jobs. In the U.S., federal employees, from law enforcement officers to IRS employees, have given their lives while on duty.
According to CBO, “Based on the current cost to the government of obtaining and presenting flags, and the small number of likely recipients in any given year, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2061 would have no significant impact on the federal budget.”