The House Education and Labor Committee has passed HR-2499, to provide that heart disease, lung disease, and specified cancers are presumed to be caused by employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits for federal employees who worked in fire protection activities.
The policy would apply to those who worked in certain occupations for at least five years and who are diagnosed with the disease within 10 years of employment. Covered occupations would include, in addition to firefighting, positions such as paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous material worker.
The bill similarly would provide that disability or death of the employee under such circumstances is to be presumed to result from personal injury sustained in the performance of duty. These presumptions also would apply to fire protection employees regardless of the length of employment who contract any communicable disease at the center of a designated pandemic or any chronic infectious disease that the Department of Labor determines is related to job hazards.
The committee also approved HR-6087, to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants as eligible providers under the FECA program.
Meanwhile, bills have been reintroduced in the Senate to require that Justice Department office of legal counsel opinions that interpret how agencies are to apply law be posted publicly except for any classified contents (S-3858); and to boost hiring of CBP officers and support staff at airports, seaports and land ports of entry (S-3850).