First Responders Passport Act of 2015by Representative Darrell E. Issa
Posted on 2015-12-16
ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member
Engel for bringing this, in a timely fashion, to the floor. I want to
thank my partner in this legislation, Mr. Boyle of Pennsylvania.
Now, Congress often does things and makes a lot of to-do about it. I don't want to overstate this simple technical correction, but I don't want to understate it either. The fact is America is proud of people who volunteer or choose, in the worst possible conditions, to go in harm's way, to go in devastation's way.
It is a small thing, but very meaningful, to say that, one, they won't have to pay for their passport out of their own pocket, and, two, although normally the contracts for these first responders come out of Los Angeles and Fairfax County, should there be a major disaster again that is beyond these first responders' capability, the law will allow for anyone authorized by the United States Government to go and help in these areas to be granted, as necessary, a passport, including expediting fees, in order to get to the devastation quickly and with a minimum of bureaucracy involved.
America knows about Haiti, Nepal, Japan, and so many other devastated areas over the last few years. Until today, America never took the time to simply say in this small way thank you to our first responders: Thank you for what you do. We certainly appreciate it enough for it to come out of the taxpayers' pocket to make sure it doesn't have to come out of your own pocket when you are going, on behalf of the American people, to help those in need around the world.
Again, I thank the chairman for his leadership in bringing this in a timely fashion. I urge support.