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Civilian Service Recognition Act stalled

A House of Representatives bill allowing for payment of "expenses incident to the presentation of a (U.S.) flag" for civilians who are killed while working for the federal government was pulled from the legislative agenda Wednesday night.

The Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2061) was introduced May 31 by Rep. Bill Hanna of New York. Noting that 3,000 federal employees have died since 1993, Hanna said, "Like members of the armed services, civilian federal employees are often in harm's way. Ours is a grateful nation, one that values the sacrifices made in honor of this country. A life can never be repaid, but it can be honored."

Legion staff are working with House officials to get the bill amended.

"This bill leaves far too much to be determined by a few individuals," said Tim Tetz, Legislative director of The American Legion. "It allows agency heads to determine who may be eligible upon their deaths. It allows them to determine ‘next of kin.' It doesn't clearly identify associated costs, and it leaves far too much to be decided without any public feedback."