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Sen. Cruz, Rep. Weber to Introduce Officer John Barnes Act to Eliminate Bureaucratic Barriers for Law Enforcement Officers in Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas-14) will introduce the Officer John Barnes Act this week to ensure timely support for our nation’s law enforcement officers and their families in times of crisis. The legislation seeks to address the delays in receiving benefits from the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) that officers and their families face. The Officer John Barnes Act would do this by mandating that the Department of Justice (DOJ) issue a determination on benefit claims within 270 days of receipt.

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said, “Across the country, our nation’s law enforcement officers selflessly serve as the front line of defense for our communities. Every single day, they put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans, and in times of crisis these heroes deserve to access the benefits they have earned without red tape getting in the way. We owe it to our law enforcement officers, like Officers Barnes who has waited for far too long, to eliminate these bureaucratic barriers hindering their access to benefits. I am proud to introduce the Officer John Barnes Act to ensure our men and women in blue receive the prompt support they deserve.”

Rep. Weber said, “In America, we pride ourselves on supporting those who risk their lives to protect our communities. Yet, the burdensome delays within our federal government have left officers like John Barnes waiting in limbo for over six years. This is unacceptable, and no officer should have to endure such bureaucratic hurdles. The Officer John Barnes Act is a crucial step towards ensuring that our law enforcement heroes receive the timely assistance they deserve, without unnecessary obstacles hindering their access to vital benefits.”

Read the full text of the bill here.


The bill is named in honor of Officer John Barnes, who demonstrated exceptional bravery during the Santa Fe, Texas shooting tragedy, suffering a disabling shotgun blast in the process. Despite applying for PSOB benefits, Officer Barnes and his family have experienced an excruciating six years-long wait for a determination from the DOJ since the 2018 shooting.

The PSOB Program provides crucial support, including death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders, as well as disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty.