Joe’s Record of Support for Fire Fighters
As president, Joe Biden will continue to stand up for working families and public safety, just as he has throughout his political career. He will be a leader on issues that give fire fighters a voice on protecting their community.
We know this because Joe has been with fire fighters - personally and publicly – since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. His record on the issues important to public safety and to our members is clear - he has had and always will have our back.
Joe’s record speaks for itself.
• In an effort to give fire fighters and other public servants a voice on the job, Joe cosponsored the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, IAFF priority legislation to establish public employee collective bargaining rights.
• Recognizing the importance of unions, Joe voted to defeat right-to-work legislation and to restore bargaining rights for federal fire fighters under the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).
• Retired fire fighters have more affordable health insurance and long-term insurance because Joe Biden served as a strong advocate of the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Officers (HELPS Act)
• Joe voted against raising the Medicare eligibility age and fought against efforts to tax employer contributions for health insurance and pension plans so that fire fighters can enjoy their hard-earned and well-deserved retirements.
• Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel are eligible for overtime pay because of Joe Biden and his support for the 7(k) exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the inclusion of EMS personnel in the exemption.
• Every family of an IAFF member who falls in the line of duty receives federal benefits because Joe Biden championed the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) program, which provides death benefits to the families of fallen fire fighters. He later introduced and passed legislation to increase benefits from $150,000 to $250,000 and indexed it to inflation so the benefit is now $359,316.
• Fire departments have the equipment and training fire fighters need to keep our neighborhoods safe thanks to Joe’s and his vote to create and fund the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant program.
• More fire fighters are on the job, protecting our communities every day because of Joe’s support and vote to create the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, as well as consistent support for robust funding.
• Fire fighters and EMS personnel are notified by hospitals in the event of exposure to bloodborne or airborne transmittable diseases thanks to Joe’s vote to pass the Ryan White Notification Act.
• To ensure fire fighters’ rights on the job, Joe Biden introduced legislation in the Senate to establish a fire service bill of rights, including the right of fire fighters to know about the dangers posed by hazardous materials and exposure to infectious diseases encountered during emergency response.
• Joe showed his understanding of fire fighters’ needs when he introduced legislation in the Senate to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including providing funds to states and localities to prepare for and prevent terrorism and enhancing emergency and interoperable communications. He later voted to implement the 9/11 Commission Report.
• Fire departments are now better prepared to respond to all hazards and emergencies thanks to Joe and his vote to create the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and to reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within DHS, reuniting disaster preparedness and response functions under a single agency and embracing an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness.
• Fire Fighters are receiving state-of-the-art hazardous materials training free of charge because Joe supported and voted to allocate homeland security funds to communities at the highest risk and threat of terrorism and voted to increase funding.
• Federal fire fighters’ pensions are safe from cuts because Joe voted to protect federal employee pensions.