A picture of Representative Andy Barr
Garland B.
Republican KY 6

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  • Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act

    by Representative Andy Barr

    Posted on 2014-01-08

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    BARR. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for his leadership on this important issue.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the more we learn about ObamaCare, the more disappointing it becomes. The American people continue to be disappointed that President Obama's health care law is not only wreaking havoc on their families and that it is not only wreaking havoc on small businesses and on our economy but that now it could be endangering our communities that rely on emergency response services provided by volunteer firefighters and EMTs. This is impacting volunteer firefighters in my home State of Kentucky.

    Just this morning, despite a windchill of negative 5 degrees, firefighters in Anderson County, Kentucky, rushed to the aid of fellow citizens to battle a barn fire that was threatening to spread to a nearby home. As their equipment and even the water froze in the extreme temperatures, these brave firefighters courageously took shifts to protect their community.

    It is not unusual for these heroic men and women to routinely perform acts of bravery. It is also not unusual for them to hold pancake breakfasts or chili dinners simply to raise enough money to pay their electricity bills. These volunteer companies are now being asked to provide coverage under ObamaCare's costly employer mandate, which Anderson County Fire Chief Mike Barnes warned could force them to lay off heroic, life-saving personnel and leave communities like Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, in Anderson County, without adequate fire protection.

    So, while fire departments work tirelessly to provide essential safety services, we must do everything we can to ensure that our emergency services volunteers are not forced to be counted as full-time employees under ObamaCare. It is a cost they simply cannot absorb.

    The project of ObamaCare is the project of the entire Obama Presidency. It is a project to determine whether or not Big Government can solve big problems. It is a project to determine whether or not the Federal Government can micromanage one-sixth of the American economy. With this issue with these volunteer fire departments, we now find out, once again, that ObamaCare and the project that it embodies is an abject failure.

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