[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 73 (Tuesday, May 10, 2016)]
[House]
[Pages H2164-H2166]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     FALLEN HEROES FLAG ACT OF 2016

  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (S. 2755) to provide Capitol-flown flags to the immediate family 
of firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of rescue squads or 
ambulance crews, and public safety officers who are killed in the line 
of duty.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                S. 2755

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 
     2016''.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act--
       (1) the term ``Capitol-flown flag'' means a flag of the 
     United States flown over the Capitol in honor of the deceased 
     individual for whom the flag is requested;
       (2) the terms ``chaplain'', ``firefighter'', ``law 
     enforcement officer'', ``member of a rescue squad or 
     ambulance crew'', and ``public agency'' have the meanings 
     given such terms in section 1204 of the Omnibus Crime Control 
     and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b);
       (3) the term ``immediate family member'', with respect to 
     an individual, means--

[[Page H2165]]

       (A) the spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child of the 
     individual or a person to whom the individual stands in loco 
     parentis; or
       (B) any other person related to the individual by blood or 
     marriage;
       (4) the term ``public safety officer'' means an individual 
     serving a public agency in an official capacity, with or 
     without compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as a 
     firefighter, or as a chaplain; and
       (5) the term ``Representative'' includes a Delegate or 
     Resident Commissioner to the Congress.

     SEC. 3. PROVIDING CAPITOL-FLOWN FLAGS FOR FAMILIES OF FALLEN 
                   HEROES.

       (a) In General.--At the request of an immediate family 
     member of a firefighter, law enforcement officer, member of a 
     rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who 
     died in the line of duty, the Representative or Senator of 
     the family may provide to the family a Capitol-flown flag, 
     together with the certificate described in subsection (c).
       (b) No Cost to Family.--A Capitol-flown flag provided under 
     this section shall be provided at no cost to the family.
       (c) Certificate.--The certificate described in this 
     subsection is a certificate which is signed by the Speaker of 
     the House of Representatives and the Representative, or the 
     President pro tempore of the Senate and the Senator, 
     providing the Capitol-flown flag, as applicable, and which 
     contains an expression of sympathy for the family involved 
     from the House of Representatives or the Senate, as 
     applicable.

     SEC. 4. REGULATIONS AND PROCEDURES.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 30 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Architect of the Capitol shall 
     issue regulations for carrying out this Act, including 
     regulations to establish procedures (including any 
     appropriate forms, guidelines, and accompanying certificates) 
     for requesting a Capitol-flown flag.
       (b) Review.--The regulations issued under subsection (a) 
     shall take effect upon approval by the Committee on House 
     Administration of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate.

     SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

       There are authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal 
     years 2017 through 2022 such sums as may be necessary to 
     carry out this Act, to be derived from amounts appropriated 
     in each such fiscal year for the operation of the Architect 
     of the Capitol, except that the aggregate amount appropriated 
     to carry out this Act for all such fiscal years may not 
     exceed $40,000.

     SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       This Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this 
     Act, except that a Capitol-flown flag may not be provided 
     under section 3 until the regulations issued under section 
     4(a) take effect in accordance with section 4(b).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Nugent) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.


                             General Leave

  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include extraneous matter in the Record on the consideration of this 
bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 2755, the Fallen Heroes 
Flag Act. The bill before us would allow Members of Congress to honor 
our heroes with a United States flag flown over this Capitol. These 
brave individuals include firefighters, law enforcement officers, and 
members of rescue squads and ambulance crews. The measure gives us the 
opportunity to express our Nation's gratitude towards those who have 
answered the call to serve and protect our communities.
  Our Nation's flag flown in their honor would also include a 
congressional certificate signed by both the Speaker of the House and 
the individual's Representative or the President pro tempore of the 
Senate and the Senator who is providing the flag for the family.
  When most people are running away from danger, our Nation's first 
responders run towards it. Whether it is a firefighter rushing into a 
burning building, an EMT responding at high speed to save someone's 
life, or a police officer pursuing a routine traffic stop, the job puts 
these individuals in harm's way on a daily basis.
  As our local communities know all too well, in far too many cases, 
brave men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe in 
America. I stand here today with my colleagues to thank each responder 
for their service and dedication to their communities. They answer our 
calls for help. As an institution and as a nation, it is right for us 
to remember the sacrifice and honor that these individuals make for 
America's families.
  As a 38-year veteran of law enforcement myself, it is a special honor 
to be able to stand here today and usher this legislation forward. I 
want to thank all of those who helped make this possible.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Florida, a former sheriff 
himself.
  I rise today in strong support of S. 2755, the Fallen Heroes Flag Act 
of 2016.
  I want to thank, also, Congressman Peter King, who has been a strong 
supporter of the first responder community and for championing this 
issue for many, many years. I want to thank Senator Roy Blunt and 
Senator Chuck Schumer for helping move this bill through the Senate.
  This bipartisan legislation will create a program to provide flags 
flown over the United States Capitol to the family members of public 
safety officers who are killed in the line of duty at no cost to the 
family.
  Our first responders make tremendous sacrifices to keep our 
communities safe. Should one of those brave men or women make the 
ultimate sacrifice, the least we can do to recognize their 
contributions to society, show our gratitude for their service, and 
express our sympathy to their families for their loss is present them 
with a flag flown over the United States Capitol.
  This bill has the strong support of the National Fraternal Order of 
Police and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support swift passage of this 
bipartisan legislation so we can send it on to the President for his 
signature.
  Mr. Speaker, as the co-chair of law enforcement issues in the 
Congress, I cannot support this enough. This is a very important piece 
of legislation and will do a lot in terms of goodwill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey for his support. We in 
law enforcement--and I still say ``we in law enforcement''--do 
appreciate it any time Congress reaches out and does something positive 
for our law enforcement families, even though it is after the fact.
  This is one of those times where, as sheriff, I had to preside over 
in-the-line-of-duty deaths. As a rookie police officer outside of 
Chicago, my first year on the job, one of the guys that I went to the 
academy with was shot and killed. I moved to Florida and became a 
deputy sheriff and rose up the ranks to sheriff.
  One of the things that I always worried about as a father and as a 
husband was: What am I leaving to my family? How are they going to be 
taken care of in the future? And what is going on in this country today 
in regards to belittling law enforcement? Trust me, we make mistakes, 
and I think that reasonable people understand that; but when you 
condemn a whole profession, it is unconscionable.
  I think this is the type of thing that we need to do. I do appreciate 
this is very bipartisan in nature and that it is really lifting up all 
of our first responders. We think back to 9/11, when those firemen and 
police officers rushed into the Twin Towers and those that lost their 
lives as others were leaving the towers toward safety. They did the 
unthinkable, and that is to rush into a burning building. Or they rush 
in somewhere where they know there is an armed intruder. They do it on 
a daily basis. They don't ask for much, but we as Members of Congress 
really stand up for them and their families by this simple act.
  This is not a huge, huge thing, but I will tell you what; to a 
grieving family, it is a small token of the appreciation that the 
United States of America, this Congress and the Senate, can bestow on a 
family in their deepest sorrow. It is not going to bring back their 
loved one, but I will tell you, they are going to look at that flag and 
remember the

[[Page H2166]]

fallen and how great a person they were.
  So it is not just what we do today; it is really about what has 
happened. The gentleman from New Jersey talked about the Senate; and 
Mr. King, from this House, from New York, moved this legislation 
through. It has been a pleasure to stand here today, to come here today 
and talk for all those who can't talk for themselves; they can't speak 
for themselves.
  My 38 years in law enforcement was probably the best time of my life 
because I was actually doing something and protecting people on a 
regular basis. I can't think of a greater honor than to fly a flag of 
this Nation over this Capitol and give that to the grieving family of a 
fallen first responder. Mr. Speaker, knowing that this institution is 
behind them, so stand the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation. I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 2755, the 
``Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016,'' which allows Members and Senators, 
at the request of an immediate family member of a fallen emergency 
responder, to have a flag flown above the United States Capitol in 
their memory.
  As a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I am 
intimately aware, as are my colleagues, of the great sacrifices made by 
our emergency responders.
  This is why I am proud that earlier this Congress the House passed 
H.R. 2795, the FRIENDS Act, which I introduced.
  I introduced the FRIENDS Act because it embodied the important and 
fundamental idea that we have an obligation to ensure that the first 
responders who protect our loved ones in emergencies, have the peace of 
mind that comes from knowing that their loved ones are safe while they 
do their duty.
  S. 2755 and the FRIENDS Act embody the spirit of bipartisanship that 
is needed in this Congress.
  These brave men and women who risk everything by running towards 
danger should be honored by this Congress by streamlining the process 
to have a flag flown above the U.S. Capitol in their memory.
  Let us not forget the 15 brave volunteer firefighters who perished in 
the city of West, Texas, in 2013 when a fertilizer plant exploded.
  This tragedy serves as a reminder of the risks and dangers undertaken 
each day by our firefighters and other first responders to keep us 
safe.
  Since 1996 in the city of Houston there have been 20 firefighters 
that have lost their lives protecting others.
  They are District Chief Ruben Lopez, Firefighter Steven C. Mayfield, 
Firefighter Lewis E. Mayo III, Firefighter Kimberly A. Smith, Captain 
Jay Paul Jahnke, Probationary Firefighter Kevin Wayne Kulow, Captain 
Grady Don Burke, Assistant Chief David Louis Moore, Captain James 
Arthur Harlow Sr., Captain Damion Jon Hobbs, Cadet Firefighter Cohnway 
Matthew Johnson, Captain Thomas William Dillion, Engineer Operator 
Robert Ryan Bebee, Firefighter/EMT Robert Herman Garner, IV, Captain 
Matthew Rena Renaud, Firefighter Anne McCormick Sullivan, Firefighter 
Daniel D Groover, Captain Dwight ``B.B.'' W Bazile, Firefighter Richard 
J Cano, and Cadet Steven Whitfield II.
  Since 1860, 109 Houston Police officers have fallen in the line of 
duty.
  In 2015 officer Richard K. Martin was killed when he was 
intentionally struck with a car when he was laying down spike strips 
during a pursuit.
  I have on many occasions requested that U.S. Flags be flown above the 
Capitol in the memory of fallen first responders and presented them to 
the family members.
  First responders are called to serve and few outside of their ranks 
can understand why they do the work that they do each day placing their 
lives in harm's way to save a stranger.
  The greatest example of the selflessness of first responders was the 
hundreds of fire fighters, law enforcement officers, emergency 
management service personnel, port authority workers, and federal 
officers and agents who rushed into the Twin Towers on September 11th 
2001, to save lives.
  On that terrible day 366 first responders sacrificed their lives so 
others may live.
  Mr. Speaker, I support S. 2755 because this bill streamlines the 
process to have a flag flown in the memory of the fallen emergency 
responders in this country.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Nugent) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, S. 2755.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________