Bipartisan legislation passes with unanimous support
WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 13, 2011 –
Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed with unanimous support the Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (H.R. 2465). The legislation updates the federal workers’ compensation program to better protect taxpayer resources and modernizes benefits to reflect the realities of today’s economy.
“I am pleased we’ve been able to work together and move forward with commonsense reforms that will improve the efficiency of the federal workers’ compensation program and promote better use of taxpayer dollars,” said Chairman John Kline. “We can no longer afford to leave government programs on autopilot. I appreciate the bipartisan work of my colleagues, and look forward to building upon today’s effort to further strengthen this program.”
On May 12, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg, held a hearing to examine weaknesses in the current federal workers’ compensation program. As Rep. Walberg noted today, “The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act has long represented our commitment to the men and women who serve our nation in the federal workforce.” Rep. Walberg continued, “I am delighted to be a part of this bipartisan initiative to update and improve this important program.”
Last week’s press release:
Requests GAO report to examine areas for further reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 8, 2011 – Today, leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (H.R. 2465), bipartisan legislation to reform the existing federal workers’ compensation program.
Since 1916, a federal program has provided compensation benefits to federal employees who become injured or ill through a work-related activity. However, the program has not been significantly reformed in almost 40 years, and as a result, a number of weaknesses have emerged that demand Congressional action. H.R. 2465 will update and enhance the efficiency of the federal workers’ compensation program, thereby ensuring the program best meets the needs of both workers and taxpayers.
“Leaving government programs on auto-pilot for decades is simply unacceptable,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “Congress has a responsibility to ensure the agencies and programs under our jurisdiction serve the best interests of taxpayers and the individuals they were created to serve. I want to thank my colleagues for working together on bipartisan solutions that will help bring this program into the 21st century.”
“I am pleased that the committee worked in a bipartisan way to enhance our nation’s workers compensation system for federal employees,” said George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat of the committee. “The legislation will make important program integrity improvements and will update benefit levels not adjusted for inflation since 1949. I agree with the majority that other programmatic changes recommended by the administration require further examination.”
H.R. 2465 will reform the federal workers’ compensation program by:
- Enhancing efficiency to ensure the program reflects best practices in medical treatment and developments in the workforce;
- Improving integrity by granting greater authority to the Department of Labor to verify the earnings of workers; and
- Modernizing the benefits federal workers receive to ensure the assistance they need reflects the realities of today’s economy.
Additionally, committee leaders sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking for a comprehensive review of additional reforms that may be needed to strengthen the program and the impact of these potential reforms on beneficiaries.
“I am pleased to join with my colleagues from both side of the aisle in co-sponsoring the Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act,” said Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI). “The bill will revise and modernize the Federal Employee Compensation Act by bringing more efficiency and fairness to a long-standing federal program. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, I will never stop working to expand job opportunities while ensuring the safety, health, and productivity of our nation’s workforce, including our federal workers.”
“FECA is the safety net for over 2 million federal workers who are injured or killed on the job, and the bill we are introducing today strengthens the law,” said Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the senior Democrat of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. “As we heard from many witnesses at a May 12 Committee hearing, more analysis is needed before we consider the proposed cuts to benefits for permanently injured workers and their survivors. So I am pleased there is a bipartisan effort to secure GAO’s input before we embark on further legislative efforts.”