CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 415, on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 415 was introduced on January 9, 2009, by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and referred to the House Administration Committee, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by voice vote on March 25, 2009.
H.R. 415 would authorize Members of the House of Representative to provide the family of a fire fighter, law enforcement officer, emergency technician, or other rescue worker who died in the line of duty with a Capitol-flown flag at no cost to the family. In addition, the legislation would authorize the Representative to provide the family with a certificate, signed by the Speaker of the House and the applicable Representative, containing an expression of sympathy from the House of Representatives for the family involved.
Under the bill, the Clerk of the House would be required to issue regulations for carrying out the requirements of the legislation within 30 days. In addition, the bill would authorize “sums as may be necessary” to carry out this act from applicable House of Representatives accounts.
According to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the U.S. Capitol Flag Program was established in 1937 when a Member of Congress first requested that a flag be flown over the Capitol for a constituent. The AOC states that the “the focus of the program gradually expanded to encompass the commemoration of national holidays and various special events, as well as to honor the work of groups such as schools and civic organizations.” Often, Capitol flags are flown in honor of those who have died in the line of duty, whether military or civilian. Depending on the size of the flag, the prices range from $13.25 to $22.55 before shipping and handling. According to House Report 111-132, “Across the country, brave public servants selflessly put their lives at risk for the protection of others. On rare occasions, these fire fighters, law enforcement officers, emergency technicians, and other rescue workers make the ultimate sacrifice… A Capitol-flown flag would express national sympathy and gratitude to the families of those who gave their lives for others.”
According to CBO, implementing H.R. 415 would not have a significant impact on discretionary spending.