Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is questioning the Obama administration’s authority to immediately provide federal firefighters with health insurance.
In a letter Friday, Coburn asked the Office of Personal Management (OPM) to defend the decision with a legal analysis and several cost assessments.
“Routine questions about the impact of the regulation currently remain unanswered,” Coburn wrote to OPM Director John Berry. He added that the firefighters “are to be commended for their service.”
The Obama administration announced the new policy on Tuesday.
The move came after recent blazes in Colorado shed light on federal firefighters’ previous lack of health coverage. As seasonal government workers, thousands of firefighters had not been eligible for insurance under the federal employee health plan.
In his letter, Coburn asked how the new policy could take effect immediately, bypassing the steps involved in normal federal rule-making.