‘That’s a ridiculously low salary’: Biden takes on federal FF wages

The president said the entry-level wage of $13/hour for firefighters would “end in my administration”


By Rachel Engel 

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden was reportedly appalled after learning that the average entry-level wage of federal firefighters is $13 an hour.  

“I didn’t realize this, I have to admit, that federal firefighters get paid $13 an hour. That’s going to end in my administration,” Biden said Tuesday before a meeting with homeland security and federal emergency management officials, USA Today reported. “That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.” 

President Joe Biden was reportedly appalled after learning that the average entry-level wage of federal firefighters is $13 an hour.
President Joe Biden was reportedly appalled after learning that the average entry-level wage of federal firefighters is $13 an hour. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

According to the Department of the Interior, federal firefighters, depending on school, military or education, enter the workforce making from $11 to $14 an hour, not including overtime. USA Today also reported that states like California also employ prisoners to fight its wildfires, often compensating them with as little as $2 to $5 a day. 

The median nationwide salary for a firefighter, regardless of location, was $52,500 a year, or $25 an hour, in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. FireRescue1 has also reported on firefighter salaries

The president was endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters during the 2020 presidential campaign.  

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