Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Actby Representative David P. Joyce
Posted on 2014-01-08
JOYCE. I would like to thank the gentleman for yielding and thank
Mr. Barletta for organizing this Special Order on this important
Mr. Speaker, we are here today because it is critical that we protect our local volunteer firefighters from the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. As we all know, the IRS has a history of treating volunteers as employees for tax purposes; and if the employer mandate is incorrectly implemented, volunteer fire departments may be forced to comply with these requirements, and that could force them to close or to curtail their emergency response services.
In the seven counties I represent in northeastern Ohio, there are over 220 fire departments, many of them with an all-volunteer force. Chief Scott Hildebrand related to me that some of these departments will be forced to double in size due to the mandate, and each one of these extra volunteers will need additional turnout gear at a cost of $2,500 to $3,000 per individual.
Before coming to Congress, I was the Geauga County prosecutor for 25 years. During that time, I founded an organization called the Geauga Bluecoats. The Bluecoats is a charitable organization that provides relief and services to the family members of police, fire and emergency responders who have become disabled or who have lost their lives in the line of duty. These men and women are our friends--they are our neighbors--and they have gone above and beyond the call of duty. We owe it to our local communities to continue to allow these brave men and women to carry out their duties.
This legislation will ensure that those brave men and women are protected from the employer mandate and can continue to serve.
I thank Mr. Barletta for his leadership on this, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.