The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2499 – the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022. Congressman Doug LaMalfa was a principal cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation. This legislation would fix the current law that requires federal firefighters who are injured on the job or claim illness from toxic exposure to apply for the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Program, specifying a single event which led to their ailment. This legislation would establish a list of health conditions and injuries that can be brought on by their line of work, and streamline the process of qualifying for workers compensation, disability, and retirement benefits. Firefighters who work at the state and local level are already under the streamlined rule.
“I cosponsored this bill to ensure that federal fighters have a fair process for determining injuries and diseases sustained in the line of duty,” LaMalfa said. “Firefighters work hard, especially in our district, to protect forested towns and wildlands, and it is dangerous work. This bill would cut through some bureaucratic red tape by establishing a number of diseases as auto-triggers for compensation and disability retirement benefits, including lung diseases and certain cancers, so that firefighters won’t have to battle the bureaucracy to determine eligibility. Under current rules, they are required to identify a specific incident that caused their injury or illness to be considered for job-related health compensation. How is a firefighter who’s worked countless fires going to pick one fire and prove that one caused him or her a particular ailment? This is a commonsense bill, and I’m happy it’s passed out of the House.”