Rep. Bill Pascrell and 159 other congresspeople urged House leaders to provide additional funding for first responders in Congress’s next COVID-19 bailout bill in a letter sent Friday.
“First responders are routinely in physical contact with potentially infected persons and are facing unprecedented volumes of dispatch calls, especially in severely impacted areas,” the letter said A short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders to guard against disease exposure has left many police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel exposed to the dangers of this crisis. This has resulted in too many across our nation contracting COVID-19, officers being forced to self-quarantine, and staffing shortages when our first responders are needed most.”
The lawmakers called on leadership to provide police, fire and emergency medical services departments with additional funding for purchasing personal protective equipment, waive overtime caps and increase paid leave time, among other measures.
Pascrell is co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and Law Enforcement Caucus.