May 19, 2022

Duckworth and Cornyn Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act

House-passed bill includes provisions stemming from Duckworth & Cornyn’s Senate companion


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act, which would support the families of officers who struggle with their mental health or who are lost to trauma-linked suicides. As passed, the House bill includes provisions stemming from Duckworth and Cornyn’s Senate version that reflect engagement with advocates, the U.S. Department of Justice, police unions and mental health experts.

“It’s a tragedy that the families of the police officers and first responders who died by suicide after putting their own safety on the line to keep us safe are struggling to get their loved ones’ deaths to be recognized as deaths in the line of duty,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud this important legislation that would provide so many grieving families with the acknowledgement and support they need after their tragic losses is moving forward and will keep working with Senator Cornyn to pass it in the Senate too.”

“Our first responders must have easy access to quality mental health care given what they see and experience on a daily basis, and their families must be able to receive assistance if their loved one tragically takes their own life,” Cornyn said. “I’m glad the House has taken action on this important legislation, and I look forward to advancing it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.”

Currently, families struggle to receive the benefits they deserve because federal law currently limits the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program to only cover physical injuries—completely excluding any support for mental health concerns. The House-passed Public Safety Officer Support Act includes provisions that stem from the Senate companion that would create an avenue for families of officers by directing the PSOB to designate work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder as a line of duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide.