Sens. Markey & Warner Call on Obama Administration to Represent United States at First WHO Global Conference on Dementia
Lawmakers are co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease
Feb 18 2015
Legislation Would Prevent More Than 10 Million Kids Nationwide, Including More Than 196,000 Virginia Children, From Losing Health Care Coverage; Without Action, CHIP Funding Will Expire in September
Feb 12 2015
Senators Introduce Resolution Calling for a Doubling of Research Funding by 2016, with Goal of Effective Treatments by 2025
Feb 12 2015
Feb 12 2015
Warner, Toomey Continue Effort to Ensure Volunteer First Responders are Exempt from Healthcare Mandate
Feb 09 2015
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are spearheading a bipartisan effort to ensure volunteer firefighters and first responders can continue protecting communities that rely on them.
The senators are introducing a bill which codifies IRS regulations prohibiting volunteer emergency responders from being counted as full-time equivalent employees for the purpose of determining the employer mandate.
“The Obama Administration has already agreed that volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel should not be counted as full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Warner. “This sensible, bipartisan fix will ensure that the law permanently and properly distinguishes between full-time, paid emergency responders and volunteers so that emergency response agencies can continue focusing on keeping our communities safe.”
“From small cities to rural communities, Pennsylvania has the largest number of volunteer fire departments in the country,” said Sen. Toomey. “These dedicated men and women, who volunteer to risk their lives for their fellow citizens, have enough on their plate without having to worry about whether excessive Washington red tape will close their station. The House has already passed this bill and I urge the Senate to do the same.”
In December 2013, following a similar effort spearheaded by Sen. Toomey and Sen. Warner, the IRS issued guidance stating that volunteer firefighters and emergency responders would not be counted as full-time employees under the president’s health care law. However, absent Sen. Toomey and Sen. Warner’s legislation, the IRS could still reverse course.
Approximately 750,000 volunteer firefighters serve in 20,000 all-volunteer and 5,000 combination career-volunteer fire departments throughout the United States. In most cases, volunteer first responders maintain other full-time employment and choose to volunteer. Not surprisingly, emergency response agencies which rely almost entirely on volunteer assistance do not have the resources to provide benefits.
Sen. Warner and Sen. Toomey's legislation has been co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators including:
Sens. Manchin (D-W. Va.), King (I-Maine), Portman (R-Ohio), Cotton (R-Ark.), Coons (D-Del.), Donnelly (D-Ind.), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Grassley (R-Iowa), Ayotte (R-N.H.) , Kaine (D-Va.), Flake (R-Ariz), Bennet (D-Colo.), Wicker (R-Miss.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Tester (D-Mont.), Murphy (D-Conn.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Moran (R-Kan.), Scott (R-S.C.), and Franken (D-Minn.)
Bill would allow more Medicare patients to receive health care in their homes
Jan 28 2015
Statement of Sen. Warner in support of the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be U.S. Surgeon General
Dec 01 2014
~ With Virginia’s designation as one of the five entry points for inbound flights from Ebola-affected countries, Senators request federal support and collaboration with local and state officials ~
Oct 24 2014
Warner, Kaine Request Update on Virginia Hospitals' Ebola Preparedness & Needs from Federal Agencies
Oct 17 2014
~ NVTC chosen under Sen. Warner’s initiative to enlist the assistance of private sector technology experts at no cost to taxpayers ~
Sep 16 2014
Virginia, Maryland Senators Praise OPM's Decision to Allow Federal Employees to Carryover Flexible Spending Account Funds
Sep 04 2014
~ Pro bono industry assessment of V-A scheduling process due in 45 days ~
Aug 07 2014
~ On Vote to Protect Women’s Health in Aftermath of Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision ~
Jul 16 2014
Jun 30 2014
Bipartisan Senate Package Includes Sen. Warner's Proposal to Allow Private Sector to Assist V-A at No Cost to Taxpayers
~ Measure passes as part of bipartisan Senate legislation to fix V-A ~ ~ Warner proposal modeled on successful work to fix back office mess at Arlington National Cemetery ~
Jun 11 2014
~ In letter to President Obama, Senators urge top-level private sector review of V-A systems ~
Jun 05 2014
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of nine U.S. Senators called on the Obama Administration today to accept private sector assistance in fixing the broken Department of Veterans Affairs (V-A) scheduling system. In a letter, Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Al Franken (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), urged the V-A to follow the example of the Army, which in 2010 allowed a consortium of leading technology companies to provide expertise in designing a corrective plan, at no cost to the taxpayers, to fix widespread data management issues uncovered at the Army’s Arlington National Cemetery.
“Because of the immediacy of the many challenges at the VA, we urge you to work with us to implement a similar cost-effective, private sector initiative so we can begin restoring the trust of our veterans and the American public in the ability of the VA to meet the commitments our nation has made to our veterans. Our military men and women, their families, and our veterans deserve nothing less.”
“Engaging the tech sector and the best minds from leading American IT firms produced a comprehensive business plan to help the Army modernize its workflow procedures and upgrade the data management systems at Arlington. That effort, conducted at no cost to the taxpayers, represented the very best traditions of corporate citizenship,” the senators wrote.
Full text of the letter is below, and a PDF of the signed letter can be accessed here.