The Congressional Fire Services Caucus is one of the largest caucuses in Congress. Founded by former Congressman Curt Weldon in 1987, the Caucus unites Republicans and Democrats in support of fire service legislation that benefit all first responders. Becoming a member does not require taking positions on legislation; rather Caucus members are asked to pledge support in a way that best benefits fire departments in their respective Congressional Districts.
To preserve the bipartisan spirit of the Caucus, the chairmanship rotates every two years between Republican and Democratic members. Previous chairmen include Senator Joseph Biden (DE), Senator John McCain (AZ), Senator Paul Sarbanes (MD), Senator Willaim V. Roth, Jr.(DE), Congressmen Weldon (PA), Steny Hoyer (MD), Sherwood Boehlert (NY) and Robert Andrews (NJ)
Here is a list of the representatives we currently have serving on the caucus for our Southwestern states:
- Congressman Michael T. McCaul (TX-10)
- Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11)
- Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12)
- Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
- Congressman Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
- Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
- Congressman Gene Green (TX-29)
- Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
- Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32)
- Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Here are some useful tips for writing your member. Whether you elect to follow them or not, just remember that your letter is one of many received each day. The way you present your concerns will determine to a large extent the reply you receive.
- Keep the letter brief and to the point.
- Write on office, fire department or personal letterhead, and sign your name over your typed name at the end of your letter.
- Write only about one issue per letter, stating your position in the first paragraph. Personal experiences are the best supporting evidence.
- Avoid combative or argumentative language.
- If you have met the member of Congress personally or have some connection or association beyond being a constituent, highlight it in your letter.
- Ask the member of Congress to state his or her position in the reply.
- Write your letter well in advance of pending congressional action to give your member of Congress the timely opportunity to make an informed decision.
- Know your facts. Erroneous information will hurt your credibility.
- Express your own ideas and opinions. Do not use standard phrases which often give the appearance of a form letter.
- Do not write on impulse. Have someone review your letter for content and grammar. Show that you put some time and thought into it. You might reveal something for the first time which can heavily influence a member’s position.
If your congressman or senator is not listed on the caucus, please urge them to join. JoinCaucusSampleLetter
We recommend sending a thank you letter to our representative for serving on this very important caucus. TYCaucusSampleLetter
Here is a list of current legislation (taken from the CFSC website)
- FIRE SPRINKLER INCENTIVE ACT
H.R. 3591 was introduced by Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) on September 22, 2015.
S. 2068 was introduced by Senator Susan Collins (ME) on September 22, 2015.
Summary: The legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include automated fire sprinkler systems as section 179 property and classify certain automated fire sprinkler systems as 15-year property for purposes of depreciation.
- JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND COMPENSATION REAUTHORIZATION ACT
S. 928 was introduced on April 14, 2015 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).
H.R. 1786 was introduced on April 14, 2015 by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12).
Summary: The legislation provides health care and economic compensation to those suffering from illness or injury due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as to the families of those who died since the attacks from related injuries.
- SAFE BUILDING CODES INCENTIVE ACT
H.R. 1748 was introduced on April 13, 2015 by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25).
Summary: The bill provides additional funding for post-disaster grants, under a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to states that adopt and enforce state-wide building codes.
- PROTECTING VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS ACT
S. 420 was introduced on February 20, 2015 by Senator Pat Toomey (PA).
H.R. 2658 was introduced on June 4, 2015 by Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11).
Summary: The legislation ensures that volunteers are not counted as full-time employees under the shared responsibility requirements contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
- VOLUNTEER RESPONDER INCENTIVE PROTECTION ACT
S. 609 was introduced on February 27, 2015 by Senator Charles Schumer (NY).
Summary: The legislation exempts from federal income tax any property tax benefit and up to $600 per year of any other type of benefit that a state or local unit of government provides to volunteer emergency responders as a recruitment or retention incentive.
- VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY SERVICES RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION ACT
S. 616 was introduced on February 27, 2015 by Senator Susan Collins (ME).
H.R. 1171 was introduced on February 27, 2015 by Congressman Peter King (NY-2).
Summary: The legislation modifies the federal tax code to make it easier for fire departments and local governments to provide recruitment and retention incentive to volunteer emergency response personnel through length of service award programs (LOSAPs).
- FEDERAL FIREFIGHTERS FAIRNESS ACT
H.R. 1035 was introduced on February 24, 2015 by Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-24).
Summary: The legislation amends federal law to create a rebuttable presumption that heart disease, lung disease, specified cancers and infectious diseases contracted by federal firefighters are job-related and contracted in the line-of-duty for purposes of worker’s compensation and disability retirement.
- FISCAL YEAR 2015 HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT
H.R. 240 was introduced by Congressman Harold Rogers (KY-5) on January 9, 2015.
Summary: The bill makes appropriations for programs and activities of the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2015.
Unsure of how the process works? Here is a link to an indepth description of the process