Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PLYMOUTH, IN –Congresswoman Jackie Walorski tonight held a press conference at the Plymouth Firehouse with Mayor Mark Senter, Fire Chief Rodney Miller, and Hoosier first responders to highlight the importance of the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, a bill Walorski co-sponsored to exempt volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency responders from the employer mandate included in Obamacare.

“Hoosier first responders are always there to protect our families, and they deserve to be protected from unfair federal regulations in Obamacare,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “This commonsense, bipartisan bill was introduced to exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from Obamacare’s employer mandate, and I am pleased that the Treasury has agreed to implement these provisions to support public safety.”

Under Obamacare, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers volunteer firefighters and emergency responders working 30 hours per week as full-time employees. This could force volunteer companies and units to provide health insurance or a pay a fine.

Under pressure from Congress, the U.S. Treasury announced on January 10th that it will soon issue a final rule to adopt the provisions outlined in the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act—ensuring volunteers will not be strapped with a significant financial burden that could threaten readiness and personnel.

This bill is supported by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the Senate.

“On behalf of the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association, and our 17,000 members, I would like to thank Congresswoman Walorski for her support on this critical issue and for holding an event with local volunteers to explain where things stand on Obamacare,” said Dave Israel, President of the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association.

During the press conference, Mayor Mark Senter and Fire Chief Rodney Miller voiced their appreciation for Walorski’s efforts.

“The Plymouth Fire Department works tirelessly to protect our community and provide incredible emergency response efforts. I am glad to join Congresswoman Walorski to draw attention to this important issue and make sure future bills passed in Washington will not interfere with our volunteers’ abilities to keep the fire station efficiently running,” said Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter

“Our firehouse is proud to offer vital emergency services to local Hoosiers. After learning that the health care law could jeopardize our ability to purchase proper equipment and remain adequately staffed, it was a relief to have Congresswoman Walorski fighting on our behalf,” said Fire Chief Rodney Miller.

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