Padilla Statement on the Biden Administration’s Emergency Supplemental Request to Protect Pay for Wildland Firefighters, Fund Disaster Relief Efforts, and Enforce Child Labor Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the Biden administration’s emergency supplemental request:

“We must secure federal firefighters’ paychecks, ensure communities hit by disasters have the resources they need, and protect American and migrant children from exploitative labor practices. This request from the Biden administration demonstrates our nation’s strong commitment to sustaining a resilient and fairly compensated wildland firefighter workforce, to supporting vital relief efforts in communities devastated by disasters, and to bolstering enforcement of child labor laws and investigations of inhumane violations of child workers’ rights. Supplemental funding for increased firefighter pay, disaster relief, and the prevention of exploitative labor practices is urgently needed, and I am calling on my Republican colleagues to support these supplemental funding requests and for all of us to work together to prevent an avoidable government shutdown this fall.”

Over 20,000 federal firefighters are at risk of an October pay cliff, with wages potentially being cut by as much as fifty percent. The Biden administration’s emergency supplemental request includes $45 million for the United States Department of Agriculture and $15 million for the Department of the Interior to reform wildland firefighting pay through the first quarter of FY 2024. The Administration also requested $12 billion to prevent the projected shortfall facing the Disaster Relief Fund and enable the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to aid relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in communities struck by natural disasters and to enhance preparedness against future extreme weather events. 

Additionally, the request contains $50 million for both the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Solicitor’s Office and its Wage and Hour Division account to help protect children from labor exploitation, including vulnerable unaccompanied immigrant children. This funding would help the DOL enforce child labor laws and investigate and prosecute the exploitation of child workers.

Last month, Senator Padilla introduced the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act to avert a pay cliff for federal wildland firefighters and ensure the federal government can recruit and retain a sufficient wildland firefighting workforce. He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to enhance FEMA’s response to and mitigation of disasters such as flooding and wildfires. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in June, Padilla condemned the exploitation of migrant child workers and called on the federal government to hold employers accountable for unlawfully exploiting migrant children. He also co-authored a letter earlier this year urging CEOs of 27 major companies to immediately cease any illegal exploitation and ill treatment of migrant child workers.

Full text of the supplemental request is available here.


This site is registered on as a development site.