The Senate has joined the House in passing a bill to authorize agencies to present American flags to the survivors of federal employees who die of injuries suffered while on the job or because of their status as government employees.
The Senate passed the Civilian Service Recognition Act on Thursday under a shortcut procedure used for non-controversial bills. The House earlier had passed the bill unanimously, and the measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.
Sponsors noted that nearly 3,000 federal employees have died in the line of duty since 1992, including in terrorist attacks, and said the presentation of a flag would help honor their service.
The bill applies to executive branch and postal employees as well as certain volunteers. It authorizes agencies to disclose that an individual was a federal employee, so long as that information is not classified or would not hamper national security. The flag is to be presented to the next of kin or to another survivor if the next of kin does not request a flag.
The measure had been held up earlier in the year because of objections over equating civilian service with military service, but the bill was amended to make clear that there would be no military-style funeral honors, merely the presentation of a flag.
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