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Paul R.
Republican WI 1

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  • Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act

    by Representative Paul Ryan

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 33) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not taken into account as employees under the shared responsibility requirements contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 33 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act''.


    (a) In General.--Section 4980H(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) as paragraphs (6), (7), and (8), respectively, and by inserting after paragraph (4) the following new paragraph: ``(5) Special rules for certain emergency services, government, and nonprofit volunteers.-- ``(A) Emergency services volunteers.--Qualified services rendered as a bona fide volunteer to an eligible employer shall not be taken into account under this section as service provided by an employee. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the terms `qualified services', `bona fide volunteer', and `eligible employer' shall have the respective meanings given such terms under section 457(e).

    ``(B) Certain other government and nonprofit volunteers.-- ``(i) In general.--Services rendered as a bona fide volunteer to a specified employer shall not be taken into account under this section as service provided by an employee.

    ``(ii) Bona fide volunteer.--For purposes of this subparagraph, the term `bona fide volunteer' means an employee of a specified employer whose only compensation from such employer is in the form of-- ``(I) reimbursement for (or reasonable allowance for) reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of services by volunteers, or ``(II) reasonable benefits (including length of service awards), and nominal fees, customarily paid by similar entities in connection with the performance of services by volunteers.

    ``(iii) Specified employer.--For purposes of this subparagraph, the term `specified employer' means-- ``(I) any government entity, and ``(II) any organization described in section 501(c) and exempt from tax under section 501(a).

    ``(iv) Coordination with subparagraph (A).--This subparagraph shall not fail to apply with respect to services merely because such services are qualified services (as defined in section 457(e)(11)(C)).''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Ryan) and the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Larson) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin.

    General Leave Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 33, currently under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Wisconsin? There was no objection.

    Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I am here bringing forward Mr. Barletta's bill, and it is really simple. One of the cornerstones of our civil society--one of the great pieces of the American story--is volunteerism but, in particular, volunteerism among our first responders.

    [[Page H202]] So many of us represent congressional districts that thrive on and exist on and preserve their safety on volunteer firefighters and first responders. Unfortunately, in the Affordable Care Act, there is a huge glitch. Under ObamaCare, volunteer firefighters and first responders are counted in many ways as if they were full-time equivalent employees, and therefore, volunteer fire departments are getting hit with enormous fines, mandates, and taxes.

    It shouldn't be that way. It is causing a huge paperwork burden, not to mention a fiscal drain on the budgets of these small fire departments and emergency responding agencies in our communities and in rural areas all across America. This legislation fixes this.

    I want to thank Congressman Barletta for introducing this because he clearly understands as a former mayor and as someone who represents Pennsylvania, which I know has a lot of volunteer firefighters just like we do in rural Wisconsin, that these are the lifeblood of our communities.

    The last thing that they need to do when they are so concerned about preserving public safety and health is to worry about all of these ObamaCare mandates. Mr. Barletta's bill preserves the freedom to operate for our 780,000 public service volunteer firefighters. It removes this mandate and exempts them from this onerous mandate, so they can continue providing the public service that they have been right now.

    Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Barletta), the author of this legislation.

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