Dear Senators Peters and Portman,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to urge the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to consider and favorably report H.R. 521, the “First Responder Fair Return for Employees on Their Initial Retirement Earned (RETIRE) Act.”
This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Representatives Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), James Langevin (D-RI), and Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a unanimous vote of 417-0. The identical Senate companion bill, S. 129, has bipartisan support but, as the House bill has now been received in the Senate, we are calling for action on the House-passed version to get this important measure to the President’s desk.
Congress rightfully determined that Federal law enforcement officers should receive enhanced salary and retirement benefits, known as 6(c), due to the dangerous and physically demanding nature of their profession. Federal law enforcement officers must also pay an additional portion of their paychecks toward their retirement benefits. If Federal law enforcement officers are severely injured in the line of duty and cannot continue to be employed as law enforcement officers, they may lose these benefits. Their benefits may also be lost even if they decide to return to work for the Federal government in a non-law enforcement capacity.
These officers, who were severely injured in the defense of their nation and may want to continue to work for the Federal government, should not lose the benefits they earned from their time as law enforcement officers because they were injured in the line of duty. Your bill would allow these re-employed officers to receive the 6(c) retirement benefits they earned and allow them to retire after 20 years of service, just as if they were still law enforcement officers. We are proud to support this bill.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we thank you for considering our request. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.