The Build Back Better Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes a number of IAFF priorities to benefit members and their families. The bill, passed by a vote of 220-213, includes:
- $90 million for fire departments to purchase PFAS-free gear and foam, helping reduce fire fighters’ exposure to the toxic chemical
- A provision to raise the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap from $10,000 to $80,000, reducing strain on municipal budgets and providing tax relief to fire fighters and emergency medical personnel
- $2.86 billion to fill a shortfall facing the World Trade Center Health Program and cover the 10% percent match New York City currently contributes to the program
- A restoration of the above-the-line tax deduction of union dues
- Four weeks of paid FMLA leave for employees
- $470 million in grants to help implement NG-911 services in local communities, enabling the exchange of photo and video messages between civilians and 9-1-1 dispatchers
The IAFF partnered with a number of friends in Congress to include these provisions, including Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) on the PFAS provision, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on the World Trade Center Provision and Representative Tom Suozzi (D-NY) on the SALT provision. General President Edward Kelly was among the leading advocates in Washington, DC, to repeal the previous SALT cap, joining lawmakers on Capitol Hill to successfully pressure leadership on the matter.
The bill now proceeds to the Senate, which is expected to consider the package after the Thanksgiving holiday.