Biden Administration Announced Steps to Use Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding to Increase Pay, Create New Mental Wellness and Health Supports
Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded President Joe Biden’s announcement that his administration will use $600 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to increase pay and establish additional support for wildland firefighters.
“Colorado’s wildland firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities, and as climate change fuels increasingly severe fires, their jobs have only grown more dangerous,” said Bennet. “This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will help ensure our wildland firefighters receive the compensation they deserve.”
In addition to increasing pay, the Biden Administration announced other steps to establish mental wellness and health support for wildland firefighters, improve recruitment and retention, and establish a new wildland fire management occupational series to strengthen the nation’s wildland firefighter workforce.
In September 2021, Bennet joined a group of senators in a letter urging the Biden Administration to prepare to implement these IIJA wildland firefighter pay and personnel provisions. In October 2020, Bennet wrote a letter to former Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt and former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting several reforms to improve pay, job stability, and benefits for federal wildfire personnel. In July 2020, Bennet co-sponsored legislation to protect and support wildland firefighters during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by providing universal testing and Workers’ Compensation for firefighters who contract the virus.
More information about President Biden’s announcement is available HERE.