S. 2755, Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016

S. 2755

Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016

Sponsor
Sen. Roy Blunt

Committee
Rules and Administration

Date
May 10, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On ­Tuesday, ­­May 10, 2016, the House will consider S.2755, the Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules.  S. 2755 was introduced on April 6, 2016, by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and was referred to Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which was discharged by unanimous consent. The bill passed the Senate without amendment on April 19, 2016 by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

S.2755 authorizes members of Congress to provide an American flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol at the request of, and at no cost to, the immediate family of a fire fighter, law enforcement officer, member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who has died in the line of duty. The flag would contain a certificate signed by either the Speaker of the House and the respective Representative, or the President pro tempore of the Senate and the respective Senator providing the flag. In addition, an expression of sympathy for the family as prepared and developed by the Clerk of the House would be included. The bill requires the Architect of the Capitol to issue regulations for carrying out the activities authorized by the bill within 30 days of enactment. Such regulations would take effect upon approval by the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate.

The House previously voted on similar legislation, H.R.723, the Fallen Heroes Act of 2015, which passed the House on May 12, 2015 by voice vote. The legislative digest for H.R. 723 can be found here.

Differences between the S. 2755 and H.R. 723, as passed by the House:

  • H.R. 723, as passed by the House, authorized appropriations for FY2015-2020 and is subject to a cap of $30,000. S. 2755, as passed by the Senate, authorizes appropriations through FY2022 and is subject to a cap of $40,000.
  • H.R. 723, as passed by the House only provides for the ability of the Speaker of the House and the respective Representative providing the flag deliver a certificate of sympathy for the recipient. S.2755, as passed by the Senate, provides that either the Speaker of the House and the respective Representative or the President pro tempore of the Senate and the respective Senator providing the flag can deliver a certificate of sympathy to the recipient.

Background

Currently, American flags for purchase by individuals may be obtained by a Member from the Office Supply Service (OSS). The cost of the flag initially is charged to the Members’ Representational Account (MRA). Once payment for a flag is received by the Member office, the office may submit the check to the OSS, which will credit the MRA. If a request is made to have the flag flown over the Capitol, an additional flag flying fee must be paid by the individual purchasing the flag.[1]

 

According to the bill’s sponsor, “Our nation’s first responders put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe, and we mourn the loss of all those who have given their lives in the line of duty. We can never repay the debt we owe to them and their families; all we can offer is our eternal gratitude. My hope is that each flag that is flown over the Capitol and provided to these families will be a lasting symbol of our appreciation, and a fitting honor to those who embody the very best of who we are as a nation.”[2]

———–
[1] See Committee on House Administration—Members’ Congressional Handbook at 13.
[2] See Sen. Blunt’s Press Release “Blunt Introduces Bill to Honor Fallen Heroes” April 6, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

 

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Wilson with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-3021.