Washington, DC - Washington, DC – Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded news of the FOP’s success in what should be the final hours of the 117th Congress, on several key issues for law enforcement officers and public safety. Today’s action will see a handful of bills sent to the President while the Senate-amended omnibus appropriations measure goes to the House for a vote.
Senate adopts amendment supporting health programs for 9/11 responders
“I want to begin by thanking the 90 Senators who supported Senate Amendment 6607 to the omnibus spending bill, which provides $1 billion for the World Trade Center Health Program and will partially close a projected shortfall,” Yoes said. “We will never forget.”
Public Safety Retirement Benefit Expanded
Following the vote on the amendment, the Senate considered and passed H.R. 2617, the legislative vehicle for the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023,” on a 68-29 vote. The spending measure also includes a provision that amends the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety (HELPS) Retirees Act. Under current law, eligible retired public safety officers may use up to $3,000 per year from their qualified government retirement plan, on a pre-tax basis, to pay for health insurance or long-term care insurance premiums. However, in order for these officers to get the pre-tax benefit, the money must be paid directly from their pension fund to a health or long-term care insurance company.
“This requirement has proved to be unworkable for far too many eligible public safety officers who belong to pension systems that are unable to make these direct payments,” Yoes explained. “Once the omnibus is signed into law, this direct payment requirement will be repealed, and officers will be able make the payment themselves and still receive the pre-tax benefit.”
Bills Strengthening Fight against Child Exploitation and Violent Crime
The Senate also considered and passed several bills supported by the FOP, all by unanimous consent: S.365, the “Eliminate Network Distribution (END) Child Exploitation Act,” S.4719, the “Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act,” and S.4859, the “Project Safe Neighborhoods Reauthorization Act.” The three bills will be transmitted to the House for further action.
“The reauthorization of Project Safe Neighborhoods is important, especially at a time when violent crime is increasing nationwide,” Yoes said. “I hope the House has time to pass it before this Congress adjourns.”
Legislation Combating Human Trafficking Sent to President
The House also considered and passed by voice vote two bills that the FOP supported: S.3946, the “Abolish Human Trafficking Reauthorization Act,” and S. 3949, the “Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act.” The bills will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
“The 117th Congress was a challenging one, but I am proud of the work the FOP has done in Washington to advance the interests of our members,” Yoes said. “We have a record of success that is all the more remarkable given the political climate on Capitol Hill, and we look forward to continuing to succeed in the next Congress.”