Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Actby Representative Lynn Jenkins
Posted on 2014-01-08
JENKINS. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for
his leadership on this critical issue. I will note that I am a proud
cosponsor of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I grew up on a family farm in Holton, Kansas. However, as anyone from a tight-knit community knows, folks see it as a civic duty to pitch in where help is needed. This means that many folks choose to be volunteer firefighters. These volunteers give freely of their time and well-being to help ensure that, when disaster occurs, folks in the community are safe. I know this well because my daddy served as a Kansas State fire marshal for many years.
I have spent significant time on the House floor talking about the unintended consequences of passing the President's health care law, which allows the government to take control of the health care industry. This is another one of those unintended consequences. The President's health care law will penalize volunteer firefighters and EMTs by counting them as full-time employees and possibly subjecting their departments to the employer mandate tax.
Penalizing volunteer fire departments should not be the intent of the President's health care law, and the effects could be disastrous. In Kansas alone, there are 550 volunteer fire departments that are staffed by 13,000 volunteer firefighters. It would be a terrible mistake to jeopardize the status of these departments and the communities they serve by penalizing them under the Affordable Care Act. Given the commonsense nature of this legislation and the bipartisan support of it, I remain committed to ensuring that this gets fixed.