Oversight Committee Advances Chai Suthammanont Remembrance Act

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Washington, September 16, 2020 | comments

Today, the House Oversight and Reform Committee advanced H.R. 7340, the Chai Suthammanont Remembrance Act, legislation authored by Chairman Gerry Connolly to protect federal employees from the coronavirus.

Chai Suthammanont was a federal employee who lost his life after contracting the coronavirus while working as part of the kitchen staff at a Quantico daycare center. He is one of many frontline federal employees whose jobs required them to continue working through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Chai was committed to his community, and for that, he gave up his life. Congress must work together to protect the health and safety of our federal workforce. And it starts with ensuring federal employees have the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding their agencies’ reopening plans. We owe that to Chai and his family,” Connolly said.

The Chai Suthammanont Remembrance Act would require each federal agency to publish online a plan to reopen a federal office building at least 30 days prior to the return of federal employees. The online plan would be required to include:

  • Data on the personal protective equipment (PPE) the agency will provide to employees,
  • Additional cleaning protocols to be implemented by the agency,
  • Efforts to ensure social distancing,
  • Efforts to protect employees who work outside of federal office buildings (such as auditors or inspectors),
  • Safety and health requirements for visitors to federal facilities,
  • Contingency options for those at high-risk of contracting the coronavirus, and
  • Efforts to ensure continuity of agency operations, including contingency plans should there be a surge in coronavirus cases.

In June, Connolly sent letters to 24 federal offices of Inspectors General (IGs) requesting their plans to oversee agency plans to return employees to federal office buildings. Connolly recently released a federal agency reopening IG Investigation Tracker here.

Connolly has also requested the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate Chai’s death.

WUSA 9 covered Chai’s story here.

The legislation is endorsed by AFGE, NTEU, IFPTE, the National Federation of Federal Employees, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

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