Congress passes bill giving flags to families of federal employees killed in the line of duty

Civil servants killed while on the job will receive honors and their agencies will give an American flag to their next of kin, under the Civilian Service Recognition Act, which the Senate passed Thursday with unanimous consent.

"It is a modest but meaningful step to express our condolences and gratitude to the families of those killed in service to their country," said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who introduced the measure in the Senate.

The House passed legislation unanimously in November after an amendment distinguished civilian employees from members of the military killed in the line of duty.

The measure would apply to civilian federal employees killed during a criminal act, terrorist attack, a natural disaster or other cause as determined by the president.

Both the National Treasury Employees Union and the Senior Executives Association supported the legislation.

"At a time when federal employees are increasingly under attack, this is good government legislation that appropriately honors fallen federal employees for the work they do for this country," said Carol A. Bonosaro, president of SEA.

The Office of Personnel Management has estimated that since 1992, nearly 3,000 federal employees have been killed in the line of duty.

"This benefit may seem modest, but it's significant to our federal employees who work within this nation and in countless overseas posts," said Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., who introduced the bill in the House. "A life can never be repaid, but it can be honored. This bill ensures that."

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