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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    JACKSON LEE of texas in the house of representatives Monday, January 12, 2015 Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 33, the ``Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act,'' which clarifies that volunteer firefighters and first responders are not to be counted towards an employer's calculation of its full-time employees for the purposes of determining if the employer falls under the ACA's employer responsibility requirement.

    I support this bill because it protects fire departments from being required to pay for the insurance of their volunteers.

    If they were required to pay, it is likely that many fire companies would be forced out of business.

    This bill is identical to H.R. 3979, reported in the 113th Congress by the Ways and Means Committee by a 37-0 vote, and passed on the House floor by a bipartisan 410-0 vote.

    The only reason this bill was never delivered to the President's desk was that the Senate ran out of time in their effort to pass the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, preventing the Federal government from shutting down.

    Within the state of Texas, nearly 85% of fire departments are operated entirely on a volunteer or mostly basis.

    Failure to pass this bill would mean dire consequences for the future of these volunteer fire departments.

    As this bill was passed unanimously in the previous House, I see no reason why it should not do the same in this one.

    I ask that my colleagues to join me in protecting our nation's fire departments by voting for the passage of this bill.


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