WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) applauded President Joe Biden for pledging to increase starting federal firefighter pay from the present amount of $13.45 per hour. In a new video, President Biden said he learned about the pay issue after a meeting on disaster preparedness at the White House. This comes just hours after Rep. Harder led a bipartisan letter with Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler urging the US Forest Service (USFS) to raise federal firefighter pay.
“Our firefighters are heroes and they deserve to be paid like it. I’m glad President Biden is with me in this fight,” said Rep. Harder. “We have the president, Republicans, and Democrats on board. Let’s get this done for the folks who keep our families safe.”
Right now, 30% of federal hotshot crews, the most experienced and elite firefighters in the country, are understaffed. Despite last year being the worst wildfire year on record in California with more than 4 million acres burned, and this year expected to be “particularly brutal” and “worst-case scenario” according to wildfire experts, the US Forest Service is still struggling to hire and retain firefighters.
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