Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act (HR 2499), which provides workers’ compensation benefits for federal fire fighters who develop cancer.
Currently, federal fire fighters battling cancer face extreme difficulty obtaining the benefits they deserve. All too often, federal fighters face an insurmountable hurdle in identifying the specific exposure in their career that caused their cancer.
“Our mission to support our sick and injured brothers and sisters drives everything this IAFF does,” says General President Edward Kelly. “Let me be clear – this legislation is much more than a presumptive bill; it is a guaranteed benefit for our federal members who contract cancer. Hats off to our Government Affairs team who logged the miles to get us to this point. It has been a long time coming. I applaud and thank the House for their vote today. The next stop is the U.S. Senate. I urge the Senate to pass this bill as quickly as possible and send it to President Biden’s desk. Our members have earned it.”
The House’s actions to pass HR 2499 are the most significant step Congress has taken to address this issue in more than 25 years. Once passed by the Senate, the bill will allow federal fire fighters with at least five years of service to automatically receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are diagnosed with one of several types of cancer listed in the bill. Additionally, the bill creates a process whereby the Secretary of Labor can add other medical conditions to the list of covered illnesses in the future.
The bill passed easily in a final vote of 288-131. Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced the bill and have led the fight in Congress to secure these benefits.
“Representatives Bacon and Carbajal have earned the friendship of the IAFF and we are appreciative of their work,” says President Kelly. “Let’s celebrate for a minute and then get back to work to get this law on the books.”