April 19, 2016 - Issue: Vol. 162, No. 60 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 2nd Session
FALLEN HEROES FLAG ACT OF 2016; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 60
(Senate - April 19, 2016)
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[Pages S2201-S2202] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] FALLEN HEROES FLAG ACT OF 2016 Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Senate Rules and Administration be discharged from further consideration of S. 2755 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report the bill by title. The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A bill (S. 2755) to provide Capitol-flown flags to the immediate family of firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of rescue squads or ambulance crews, and public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill. Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to support the Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016, S. 2755. This bipartisan legislation will create a program to provide Capitol-flown flags to the immediate family members of firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of rescue squads or ambulance crews, and public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. These flags are provided at no cost to the family and will come with a certificate from the Senate, signed by the providing Member and President pro tempore, which contains our expression of sympathy for the grieving family. Certificates coming from the other body will be signed by the Speaker of the House and the providing House Member and express the sympathy of the House of Representatives. I hope all my colleagues will join me in support of this legislation. Our first responders make tremendous sacrifices for our communities. If one of them makes the ultimate sacrifice, the least we can do to recognize their life, show our gratitude, and express our sympathy for their family is present them with a flag flown over this building. Under existing rules, Senate offices may not use official funds to send flags to individuals. This legislation authorizes a new program, administered by the Architect of the Capitol, that will make it possible for families who have lost a loved one in these circumstances to request and receive a Capitol-flown flag at no expense. We are all grateful for the sacrifices these dedicated public servants make every day to serve and protect our communities, and this legislation will make it possible to present grieving families with a symbol of our gratitude. This legislation has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police and the Sergeants Benevolent Association. I ask unanimous consent that their letters of support be printed in the Record following my statement. I would like to thank all my colleagues who cosponsored this legislation, particularly our ranking member of the Rules Committee, Senator Schumer. I would also like to thank Congressman Peter King, who has championed this cause in the other body for many years. This legislation includes some revisions to the previously passed version in the House, but I expect they will be agreeable to the other body. I hope both bodies will pass this legislation quickly and send it on to the President for his signature. Thank you. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: Sergeants Benevolent Association, Police Department, City of New York, New York, NY, April 7, 2016. Hon. Roy Blunt, Chairman, Committee on Rules, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Hon. Charles Schumer, Ranking Member, Committee on Rules, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Dear Mr. Chairman and Senator Schumer, I am writing on behalf of the more than 13,000 active and retired members of the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department to advise you of our strong support for the ``Fallen Heroes Flag Act.'' We appreciate your leadership on this legislation to honor those law enforcement officers and other first responders who have lost their lives protecting their fellow citizens. In the first four months of 2016 alone, thirty federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have fallen in the line of duty. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, sixteen of these officers perished in firearms-related incidents. Statistics such as these are a sobering reminder of the sacrifices that are made daily by our first responders. These men and women, as well as countless others who have lost their lives in the line of duty, have earned the right to be honored for their heroism. The legislation that you have introduced would provide this opportunity by allowing the surviving family of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or EMT who dies in the line of duty to request that an American flag be flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of their fallen family member. The flag would be provided to the family without cost, and would include a signed certificate with an expression of sympathy for the family involved. It is a simple yet extremely meaningful way to demonstrate to surviving families our recognition of and gratitude for the tremendous sacrifice their loved one made to keep our nation safe. On behalf of the membership of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, thank you again for your leadership on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or our Washington Representatives Andrew Siff and Chris Granberg, if we can be of any further assistance. Sincerely, Ed Mullins, President. [[Page S2202]] ____ National Fraternal Order of Police, Washington, DC, 7 April 2016. Hon. Roy D. Blunt, Chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Dear Mr. Chairman, I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 2755, the ``Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016.'' This legislation will provide a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and a certificate containing an expression of sympathy to the immediate family member of a firefighter, law enforcement officer, member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who died in the line of duty. Every day thousands of men and women put their lives on the line to help others and keep their communities safe. It takes a special person who is willing to sacrifice his/her life to run towards danger, while everyone else is running away from it. Mr. Chairman, as co-chair of the Law Enforcement Caucus, you know how important it is to honor the commitment and sacrifice of the men and women who died protecting their communities and that of their families. Nothing can take away the pain or replace a loved one whose life has been unjustly taken. What we can offer is our deepest condolences and a symbol of our infinite gratitude. This legislation ensures that the heroes and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice are honored and recognized. On behalf of more than 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I want to thank you for introducing this legislation and amendment. If I can be of any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington Office. Sincerely, Chuck Canterbury, National President. Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I further ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The bill (S. 2755) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, was read the third time, and passed, as follows: S. 2755 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016''. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. In this Act-- (1) the term ``Capitol-flown flag'' means a flag of the United States flown over the Capitol in honor of the deceased individual for whom the flag is requested; (2) the terms ``chaplain'', ``firefighter'', ``law enforcement officer'', ``member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew'', and ``public agency'' have the meanings given such terms in section 1204 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b); (3) the term ``immediate family member'', with respect to an individual, means-- (A) the spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child of the individual or a person to whom the individual stands in loco parentis; or (B) any other person related to the individual by blood or marriage; (4) the term ``public safety officer'' means an individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, with or without compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as a firefighter, or as a chaplain; and (5) the term ``Representative'' includes a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress. SEC. 3. PROVIDING CAPITOL-FLOWN FLAGS FOR FAMILIES OF FALLEN HEROES. (a) In General.--At the request of an immediate family member of a firefighter, law enforcement officer, member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who died in the line of duty, the Representative or Senator of the family may provide to the family a Capitol-flown flag, together with the certificate described in subsection (c). (b) No Cost to Family.--A Capitol-flown flag provided under this section shall be provided at no cost to the family. (c) Certificate.--The certificate described in this subsection is a certificate which is signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Representative, or the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Senator, providing the Capitol-flown flag, as applicable, and which contains an expression of sympathy for the family involved from the House of Representatives or the Senate, as applicable. SEC. 4. REGULATIONS AND PROCEDURES. (a) In General.--Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Architect of the Capitol shall issue regulations for carrying out this Act, including regulations to establish procedures (including any appropriate forms, guidelines, and accompanying certificates) for requesting a Capitol-flown flag. (b) Review.--The regulations issued under subsection (a) shall take effect upon approval by the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate. SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2022 such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act, to be derived from amounts appropriated in each such fiscal year for the operation of the Architect of the Capitol, except that the aggregate amount appropriated to carry out this Act for all such fiscal years may not exceed $40,000. SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act, except that a Capitol-flown flag may not be provided under section 3 until the regulations issued under section 4(a) take effect in accordance with section 4(b). ____________________