Statement on Signing the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Amendments of 1984

September 28, 1984

I have today signed S. 38, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Amendments of 1984. The last amendments to this act in 1972 expanded worker coverage and provided relatively high benefits which resulted in excessive costs. Today's legislation addresses these issues and makes important reforms in workers compensation for injured workers, who contributed so much to our nation's vital maritime industry, and their families.

This legislation is the result of the hard work and cooperative spirit of employers, unions, and the insurance industry. It passed the Congress with strong bipartisan support and with the endorsement of this administration.

I want to congratulate all the parties to this consensus legislation. Their efforts strike a balance between continuing to provide fair and necessary benefits for injured workers and their families and, at the same time, giving employers, insurers, and the Labor Department the means to control program costs more effectively. The bill will accomplish this by clarifying the act's coverage to exempt certain categories of workers whose work activities are on land, putting reasonable limits on benefits and increasing the penalties for fraud and abuse.

Many Members of Congress joined in this bipartisan effort. I want to acknowledge, in particular, Senator Nickles, Representative Erlenborn, and Representative Miller of California who played significant roles in shaping this legislation, as did Senators Hatch, Kennedy, Nunn, Roth, and Rudman.

I would also like to take this opportunity to commend Congressman John Erlenborn who is retiring from the Congress this year after 20 years of outstanding and dedicated service. He has played a very significant role in shaping labor legislation during those 20 years, and it is fitting that he should be culminating his distinguished career in the Congress by playing a key role in the passage of this reform legislation.

Note: As enacted, S. 38 is Public Law 98 - 426, approved September 28.