U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Mark Takano (D-CA) have reintroduced legislation in Congress to provide presumptive disability coverage for federal fighters suffering from cancer, heart and lung diseases. The bill, H.R. 1884, the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act, is a step forward in the IAFF’s long-standing quest to bring presumptive coverage for occupational cancer and heart disease to federal members.
"I am grateful that Representatives Carbajal and Takano have championed this important bill and I look forward to working with them to ensure its passage in the 115th Congress,” says General President Harold Schaitberger.
Once enacted, the law will presume that a limited number of cancers or heart and lung disease are the result of an accepted occupational disease. No longer will a federal fire fighter have to demonstrate that the proximate cause of the disease is directly related to their duties while simultaneously battling the disease.
Expressing support for the bill and the need for presumptive disability laws, 16th District Vice President James Johnson says, “Every fire fighter knows that cancer, heart and lung disease are a scourge on our industry. Today, these diseases are the leading causes of line-of-duty death among fire fighters. It’s time that the federal sector workers’ compensation law reflects what we all already know as federal fire fighter claims are adjudicated.”
A version of this bill has been introduced in every Congress since 2001. While there has been support from members of Congress, none of the bills has made it to the finish line for signing by the president. The IAFF will continue to vigorously pursue passage of this bill.