Fourteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives reintroduced this week the First Responders Passport Act, which allows the Secretary of State to waive passport fees for American first responders when making trips abroad to assist in natural disaster response efforts.
The bipartisan group included U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock
(R-VA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Ed Royce (D-CA).
“Our first responders often travel thousands of miles to assist foreign communities in the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, and other catastrophes,” Issa said. “This legislation makes these selfless journeys a little easier by waiving passport fees for those headed to provide aid and by ensuring they are always ready to render life-saving help to those in need.”
In support of the bill, Comstock referenced the work of Virginia Task Force 1, which has been deployed overseas more than 30 times for natural disaster-related situations. Most recently, the task force assisted in response efforts after an earthquake in Nepal.
“Every year, brave Americans, including from Los Angeles county, volunteer to respond to disasters around the world,” Royce, who serves as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “These heroes should not be deterred by fees and red tape. This bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly last Congress, will provide a small but important benefit for those first responders, and I hope to see it become law.”
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