Gluesenkamp Perez testifies in support of legislation to address nationwide shortage of EMS workers


In her push to address the emergency medical services (EMS) staffing shortage and ease the process of becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT), U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, recently told the House Armed Services Committee her proposal would “cut red tape” for veterans looking to transition to becoming a certified EMT or paramedic.

Gluesenkamp Perez’s testimony comes as Congress looks to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). During her testimony, Gluesenkamp Perez highlighted several of her other priorities in the legislation.

“I am here to advocate for the inclusion of certain provisions of my bipartisan bill, the PARA-EMT Act, which I introduced with Congressman Finstad in (the) FY25 National Defense Authorization Act,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in her remarks. “Our service members who completed military emergency medical technical training while serving have an incredible skill set that should be celebrated and utilized as they transition to (civilian life).”

In November, Gluesenkamp Perez and Rep. Brad Finstad, R-Minnesota, introduced the bipartisan Preserve Access to Rapid Ambulance Emergency Medical Treatment Act (PARA-EMT), which would address the shortage of emergency workers, particularly in rural areas. If passed, the PARA-EMT Act would make it easier for veterans to become certified EMTs and paramedics after returning home.

“We can better serve both those transitioning service members as well as our rural communities by making it easier for experienced veterans to transition from medics to becoming certified civilian paramedics and EMTs,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “This provision would create a program for states to facilitate and expedite the transition of medics coming out of the military to meet certification, licensure, and other requirements applicable to becoming an EMT or a paramedic.”

During her testimony, Gluesenkamp Perez said she was happy to see the “historically high” 5.2% pay increase that was included in the NDAA last year.

“I hope this year proves no different and we again show our service members that their selflessness and service are valued and deserve appropriate compensation,” Gluesenkamp Perez said.