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May 11, 2022

Committee Unanimously Approves Trone, Reschenthaler Bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act; Legislation to Proceed to House Floor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 11, 2022

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Committee Unanimously Approves Trone, Reschenthaler Bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act; Legislation to Proceed to House Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved H.R. 6943, the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022, legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). This bipartisan legislation would expand the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) to include coverage for first responders who die as a result of suicide or are permanently disabled as a result of traumatic service-related experiences. The PSOB Program currently only covers physical injuries, excluding any coverage for mental health issues. The legislation now heads to the House floor for a vote.

“First responders often experience more trauma in one day than many of us will experience in our lifetimes. This takes a significant toll on the officers and sometimes leads to disability or even suicide,” said Rep. Trone. “We need to make sure the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program is there not only for those suffering from physical injuries, but also from mental injuries as well. I want to thank Congressman Reschenthaler for working together with me on this important legislation. I urge our House colleagues to support this worthy effort.” 

“As a former district judge, I know our nation’s police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians serve on the front lines every day to protect our families and communities,” said Rep. Reschenthaler. “The Public Safety Officer Support Act would give first responders and their families the resources and support they desperately need and deserve. I’m grateful for the House Judiciary Committee’s strong bipartisan support on this important legislation, and I urge the Speaker to swiftly bring it to the House floor for a vote.” 

If passed, the Public Safety Officer Support Act would:

  • Allow public safety officers to seek disability benefits for PTSD linked to severe trauma by directing the PSOB to designate work-related PTSD and acute stress disorders as a line of duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide; and
  • Allow families of public safety officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits by directing the PSOB to presume that suicides are a result of job duties in certain traumatic circumstances where there is evidence that PTSD or acute stress disorder would be the cause of the injury.

The Public Safety Officer Support Act (H.R. 6943) is cosponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Angie Craig (MN-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Karen Bass (CA-37), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced companion legislation with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The following organizations support the Public Safety Officer Support Act: Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P., the National Border Patrol Council, United States Capitol Police Labor Committee, the American Psychological Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, the Clinical Social Work Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Psychotherapy Action Network, the American Counseling Association, and the Schizophrenia and Psychosis Action Alliance. 

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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