HARRISBURG - Congressman Lou Barletta, R-11, commended the members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for their unanimous passage of a resolution urging Congress to immediately consider and pass Barletta's federal legislation to exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency rescue personnel from the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Sponsored by state Rep. Gordon Denlinger (Lancaster), H.R. 584 passed the House by a vote of 198-to-0 this week and requires no further legislative action.

"Everywhere I have traveled in my district and elsewhere, I meet people who tell me they support their local fire departments and don't want them potentially driven out of business by being forced to provide health care for their volunteers, or pay a fine," Barletta said. "Since there is also a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate, I am optimistic that we can have a floor vote on it in the House early in the new year. I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Denlinger on this important issue, and I am grateful for the endorsement of the Pennsylvania House. Every bit of support helps."

Barletta introduced the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act to specifically exempt volunteer firefighters and volunteers providing emergency medical services from the employer mandate provision of Obamacare. Barletta has been concerned that since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently views volunteer firefighters as employees, fire companies and municipalities would be forced to provide health insurance or pay a fine, saddling them with unbearable financial burdens and threatening public safety.