Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Actby Representative Chris Collins
Posted on 2014-01-08
COLLINS of New York. I would like to thank my friend from
Pennsylvania for taking up this important and timely issue.
Mr. Speaker, ObamaCare has proven to be the devastating law that many of us predicted. The recent debacle of the online exchange roll-out and the negative impact the law has had on our economy seem to be only the beginning of the problems we face. Every few weeks, we hear about more unintended consequences of the law, which are hurting the very people the President and the Democrats in Congress promised to protect.
The IRS considers volunteer emergency responders, including firefighters, employees for tax purposes. Under this employee designation, large [[Page H68]] volunteer fire departments will be subject to the ObamaCare employer mandate. This will force them to provide health insurance to their volunteers or to pay a significant penalty. These unnecessary costs will cripple the strong volunteer fire community that protects western New York and the rest of the country.
In November of last year, I wrote a letter to the Acting Commissioner of the IRS, seeking a specific exemption for volunteer responders, but my office has yet to receive a reply. Since the administration has not corrected this disservice to America's volunteer EMTs and firefighters, we must act legislatively.
I urge the House to take up H.R. 3685 and address this issue as soon as possible. We must protect our volunteer emergency service responders so they can continue to protect us.