Barletta Bulletin 5.4.14
Senate Playing Politics with Volunteer Firefighters
On March 11, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation I authored to protect volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees under the Employer Mandate of the ACA, thereby shielding fire departments from crippling new health care costs, which would cause many to close their doors. The bill passed the House by a vote of 410 to 0, marking a tremendous victory for both the volunteers and anyone who lives and works in an area that depends on volunteer firefighters and emergency first responders for their safety.
However, on April 7, 2014 the Senate passed legislation to extend emergency unemployment compensation benefits by attaching such language to my bill. I am extremely disappointed in the Senate’s passage of H.R. 3979, originally my Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act.