Support Grows for Sinema’s Bipartisan Bill Honoring Fallen Federal Civil Servants

Jan 26, 2022

WASHINGTON – Support for Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan legislation honoring fallen federal civil servants continues to grow. Sinema’s Honoring Civil Servants Killed in the Line of Duty Act—introduced with Senate Homeland Security Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Committee Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)—provides benefits to the survivors of federal civil servants who die in the line of duty. Since January 1, 2020, 13 Arizona federal employees have died in the line of duty. Survivors of those killed while in the foreign service and military already receive a benefit acknowledging their death was a result of serving their country. Sinema’s bill improves the policy for other civil servants, including first responders. 
“Civil servants, who make the ultimate sacrifice keeping our country safe, should be honored and their loved ones provided fair benefits as a token of our gratitude,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate’s Government Operations Subcommittee, which has oversight of the federal workforce.
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
“Federal law enforcement officers and agents working on behalf the United States remain a target for terrorists, criminals, and hostile actors both foreign and domestic. This year we have seen unprecedented attacks on federal law enforcement as federal officers and agents are increasingly called to provide necessary support to local law enforcement battling spikes in violent crime.  Overall, law enforcement fatalities increased 29 percent in FY 2021. It is only right that if any federal employee makes the ultimate sacrifice for their country, that sacrifice be memorialized in a way fitting their service. This legislation is necessary to ensure all survivors of federal employees killed in the line of duty are entitled to equal and robust financial benefits to honor their lost public servants,” said Larry Cosme, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) National President.
National Treasury Employees Union 
“NTEU strongly endorses this legislation that will truly recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of a federal employee who dies in the line of duty. The leadership of Sens. Sinema, Portman, and Padilla is to be commended. They know that civilian federal employees serve their country every day with fierce dedication and unceasing loyalty that too often goes unnoticed,” said Tony Reardon, National Treasury Employees Union National President.
National Federation of Federal Employees
“It is far past the time to update the death benefits for federal employees who are killed in the line of duty.  In an increasingly dangerous world, the current funeral benefit of $800 set in the Johnson Administration is a sad joke.  Likewise, the survivor benefit of $10,000 is also insulting and hardly enough to see a surviving family through a tragic period of loss.  The increase to death benefits does not impact discretionary budgets, and it will ensure that future incidents involving the ultimate sacrifice of federal workers will not be devalued again.  This is not a partisan issue.  Let’s get this done quickly,” said Randy Erwin, National President, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). 
Senior Executive Association
“Federal employees across the country dedicate their lives to serving the American people without even considering the risk. These employees combat natural disasters, visit some of the world’s most volatile areas, and face threats by criminal actors targeting the U.S. government. Tragically, this work has resulted in thousands of line of duty deaths in just the last 30 years. Congress has come together on many occasions to acknowledge the sacrifice of federal employees, but the survivors of federal employees killed in the line of duty are too often forgotten. This legislation is critical for reforming the patchwork of death gratuity benefits across federal agencies that causes too many surviving families to receive inadequate assistance. SEA encourages lawmakers to join in supporting this legislation that, at its heart, acknowledges the sacrifice that is public service,” said Bob Corsi, Senior Executive Association (SEA) President.
Professional Managers Association
“This February marks 12 years since a disgruntled taxpayer collided his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, resulting in the tragic death of IRS manager Vernon Hunter and thousands of injuries. Unfortunately, threats against IRS employees, and employees across the federal government, continue to occur. It is about time Congress recognize the very real dangers of federal employment and honor employees killed in the line of duty adequately. This legislation provides families and survivors critical comfort during their time of need and should be unanimously passed into law,” said Professional Managers Association (PMA) Executive Director Chad Hooper.
National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
“Every member of the federal law enforcement community is keenly aware of the risk their job carries. According to the Department of Justice, nearly 500 threats or inappropriate communications were levied against federal prosecutors and civil attorneys in the last three years. Of these, 129 were death threats against Assistant U.S. Attorneys or their families. As the internet is increasingly used to expose private information, Assistant U.S. Attorneys are at a greater risk than ever of criminal actors seeking revenge against the U.S. justice system. While every federal employee agrees to take on these risks when we pledge our oath of service, our families do not. This legislation appropriately honors the survivor’s sacrifice when a federal employee pays the ultimate price for their service,” said National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA) President Steven Wasserman.
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
“The death of postal and federal workers while on the job is devastating enough to their families. Their loved ones then have to face the financial burdens of funerals and the loss of needed income.  By increasing death gratuities for the first time since 1997, and funeral expenses for the first time since 1966, the Senate recognizes the needed support for families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice,” said National Postal Mail Handlers Union National President Paul V. Hogrogian.
Federal Managers Associations
“This legislation would improve and expand unfair death gratuities for survivors of federal employees killed in the line of duty. The current rates have not kept up with the times, staying static since 1997, and the funeral allowance hasn’t changed since 1966. This important legislation recognizes the dangers federal employees subject themselves to when serving their fellow Americans and will help ensure their families and loved ones will be treated fairly if they make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Federal Managers Associations (FMA) National President Craig Carter.