Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement after the Biden Administration instituted the temporary pay raise for federal wildland firefighters required by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided $600 million for federal agencies to increase firefighters’ salaries and support a mental health program for firefighters.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for every federal wildland firefighter across the country. Funding for much-needed pay raises for federal wildland firefighters was a critical component of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address the current shortage of firefighters. Our brave firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect us, our families and our communities, and we are grateful for their hard work, dedication and courage. I’m especially pleased that the raise is retroactive to October 1, 2021, as originally intended by Congress. With a devastating fire season well underway and a shortage of wildland firefighters, it is critical we ensure our firefighters have the compensation they deserve so they can continue carrying out their important work without the added worry of financial hardship.”
During a full committee hearing last month, Chairman Manchin questioned Interior Secretary Deb Haaland about the progress her agency and the U.S. Forest Service had made to date implementing the required mental health program.
For more information on the implementation of the federal wildland firefighter provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, please click here.