Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Edward J. Markey
Posted on 2015-12-08
MARKEY (for himself and Ms. Warren):
S. 2374. A bill to amend the Defense Base Act to require death
benefits to be paid to a deceased employee's designated beneficiary or
next of kin in the case of death resulting from a war-risk hazard or
act of terrorism occurring on or after September 11, 2001; to the
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, in September 2012, an attack on the United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, resulted in the death of Glen Anthony Doherty, a former Navy SEAL who grew up in Winchester, MA, and three others.
Mr. Doherty was killed while defending the classified annex near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi against a terrorist attack that also caused the deaths of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEAL and C.I.A. contractor Tyrone Woods, and U.S. State Department officer Sean Smith.
Mr. Doherty was unmarried and had no dependents. It is my understanding that he activated his mandatory Defense Base Act insurance policy before deploying to Libya in 2012 believing this policy would pay benefits to his estate or next of kin in the event of his death.
After his death and despite the Doherty family's extensive efforts, they have been unable to receive financial compensation from the Central Intelligence Agency or from private insurance providers. This issue has compounded the pain the family has endured from the loss of a beloved son and brother.
No family in the CIA community should be left uncompensated if a family member falls in the line of duty.
That is why I am today introducing the Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act, which was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Steven Lynch. This legislation will remove a significant omission in federal law that currently prohibits the families of overseas contractors who are killed in the line of duty from receiving full death benefits if the deceased employee is unmarried with no children or other dependents. The bill would amend the Defense Base Act of 1941 to ensure that full death benefits are extended to the families or designated beneficiaries of Federal contractors who have died in service to our country as a result of a war-risk hazard or an act of terrorism.
Specifically, it would allow the payment of death benefits otherwise due a widow, widower, or surviving child of an individual employed at a military, air, or naval base outside of the United States who dies as a result of a war-risk hazard or act of terrorism occurring on or after September 11, 2001, when there is no person eligible for a death benefit under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
The bill requires payment in such a case to a beneficiary designated by the deceased or the next of kin or the estate of the deceased under applicable state law if there is no designated beneficiary. The bill requires benefits to be paid from the Employees' Compensation Fund.
More than merely a technical or administrative concern, this issue goes to the heart of the United States government's relationship with the families of those who are killed defending our country. I ask all Senators to support this important legislation for the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation.