Blumenthal calls for better benefits for volunteer firefighters

The Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Reauthorization Act, S. 933, would expand and reauthorize the current law that allows volunteer firefighters to receive tax-free benefits. The same provision was enacted in 2007 but expired in 2010.

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Blumenthal said the incentive would help recruit much-needed volunteer firefighters.

“Recruiting requires better incentives and providing better benefits is cost effective and fair,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal also called for Congress to act on the Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Act, S. 1911, which guarantees length of service award programs and makes them portable under the federal tax code.

Blumenthal spoke about the two bills with Southington Fire Chief Harold Clark and other firefighters in Connecticut on Tuesday.

“These two bills, if passed, will better equip fire service leaders in their endeavors of recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters,” Clark said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced S. 1911 and Sens. Blumenthal, Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are co-sponsors.

Schumer introduced S. 933 and Sens. Blumenthal, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Collins, Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Kerry, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Lieberman, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are co-sponsors.