Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
May 11, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 2499, the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
 
Click here to watch the video.

“Madam Speaker, I’m speaking up today for the more than 10,000 federal firefighters who risk their lives day after day for their fellow Americans. They safeguard military bases, nuclear facilities, and other critical installations across the country. They serve on the frontlines of the climate crisis, fighting wildfires that grow more frequent and more intense with each passing year. They protect both our private property and our public lands.

“Most importantly, they save lives. In the process, they are often exposed to toxic fumes that can lead to deadly diseases and cancers. Nevertheless, our federal firefighters execute these responsibilities with courage and dedication. Despite frequently fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with their state and local counterparts, however, our federal firefighters don’t receive many of the same benefits and protections.

“Madam Speaker, I’m proud to bring the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act to the Floor to help right this wrong and to treat these heroes with the respect they deserve. Currently, our federal firefighters face an often-insurmountable burden of proof to receive compensation for work-related disabilities. This bipartisan legislation would guarantee that our federal firefighters have access to disability and retirement benefits they have earned through their service. It would do so by establishing automatic presumptions for heart and lung disease and various types of cancers. Multiple scientific studies have established the link between these illnesses and the dangers firefighters face during their service. That’s why forty-eight states have passed similar laws creating these assumptions for their municipal, county, and state firefighters. I thank Rep. Carbajal for introducing this commonsense legislation, as well as Chairman Scott and his colleagues on the Education and Labor Committee marking it up expeditiously.

“Most importantly, I want to thank all of our federal firefighters for continuing to hold the line and go to work facing possible danger in spite of the risks because of their sense of duty and dedication to serving their country. Charging toward the flames time and time again, these heroes have more than earned these benefits. It's up to us to make sure they get them. Vote ‘yes.’”