We Advocate. We Educate.

We are at the forefront of efforts in Washington, D.C., championing the cause of fire survivors by organizing federal advocacy delegations focused on resiliency, recovery, and the improvement of public policy. Led by our CEO, Jennifer Gray Thompson, who serves on the Bipartisan Policy Center's Disaster Response Reform Task Force, we actively make recommendations to Congress to ensure the voices of fire survivors are heard and acted upon.

Current Bill

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 passed out of the House by a vote of 357-70 on January 31, 2024

About the Bill

As reported from the Ways and Means Committee, the previous stand-alone bill, H.R. 5863, the Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act contains provisions, based on H.R. 4970, the Protect Innocent Victims of Taxation After Fire Act, which would shield liability compensation given to wildfire victims from taxation. Under that shield, payments would broadly be excluded from an individual’s taxable income if they were for damages, expenses, or losses incurred during a Federally declared wildfire disaster.

Payments from liability settlements for damages associated with a Federally declared wildfire disaster should be treated as non-taxable, just like all other forms of disaster aid. Without this protection, wildfire victims have, and will, face massive unforeseen tax bills while being left with less to rebuild their lives. In many cases, victims have, and will, be kicked off or ruled ineligible for benefits, like VA prescription assistance, Medicaid, healthcare exchange subsidies, Federal student loan assistance, or Supplemental Security Income because their adjusted gross income is manipulated to make them appear wealthy.

This issue has already affected tens of thousands of wildfire survivors and is likely to impact survivors in Oregon, who recently received similar liability settlements, as well as survivors in Colorado and Hawaii, which have ongoing lawsuits regarding two recent Federally declared wildfire disasters.


Through our advocacy and education initiatives, we strive to ensure that the voices of fire survivors are not only heard but also acted upon, securing the necessary support and relief they deserve. In October of 2021, After the Fire USA brought this issue to Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa) during a virtual meeting that included Jessica Pyska, Belia Ramos, Lawrence, Molly Curley O’Brien, Trina Cunningham, Katie, and Jennifer Gray Thompson. Since then, we have made virtual and in-person trips for this bill on numerous occasions, which led to HR 7035.

It failed. So we started again, sending several delegations to DC to advocate for this bill.

Thank you to all the delegates who made virtual and in-person trips for this bill:

  • Allison James, Town of Superior, Boulder County, Colorado–Marshall Fire (2021)
  • Belia Ramos, County of Napa, Board of Supervisor, Chairwoman–North Bay Fires (2017, 2020)
  • Bradley Sherwood, Wildfire Leader, Tubbs Fire Survivor, Founder Larkfield Resiliency)–Tubbs Fire (2017)
  • Brent Woodworth, Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Foundation–Woolsey Fire (2019)
  • Casey Taylor, Founder and Superintendent, Achieve Charter Schools of Paradise– Camp Fire (2018)
  • Jeff Okrepkie, Founder, Coffey Strong, Tubbs Fire Leader & Survivor, Santa Rosa City Council–TubbsFire (2017)
  • Jenn Kaaoush, Founder & Co-Director, Superior Rising, Marshall Fire Leader & Survivor, Town of SuperiorTrustee–Marshall Fire (2021)
  • Jennifer Gray Thompson, CEO, After the Fire USA–North Bay Fires (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020)
  • Kat Merrick, Founder & Executive Director, The Local Love Project–Thomas Fire(2017/18) + WoolseyFire (2019)
  • Kevin Goss, Plumas County Supervisor–Dixie Fire (2021)
  • Neal Shah, Founder, Superior Rising, Town of Superior Mayor Pro-Tem–Marshall Fire (2021)
  • Rosa Brandt, Program Manager, After the Fire USA
  • Steve Crowder, Camp Fire Survivor, City of Paradise Council Member–Camp Fire (2018)
  • Will Abrams, Tubbs Fire Leader & Survivor–Tubbs Fire (2017)

Who we’ve met with

Rep. Adam Smith Office (MO-8)

Rep. Brittany Pettersen Office (D-CO)

Rep. Ken Calvert Office (CA-41)

Rep. Darrell Issa Office (CA-48)

Rep. David Joyce (OH-14)

Rep. David Valadao Office (R-CA)

Rep. Doug LaMalfa Office (R-CA)

Rep. Doug Lamborn Office (CO-05)

Rep. Jared Huffman Office (D-CA)

Rep. Jay Obernolte Office (CA-23)

Rep. Joe Neguse Office (D-CO)

Rep. Julia Brownley Office (D-CA)

Rep. Jill Tokuda Office (D-HI)

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

Rep. Ken Clark Office (D-MA)

Rep. Kevin Kiley Office (CA-03)

Rep. Mike Thompson Office (D-CA)

Rep. Scalise (R) Louisiana – Claire Trokey (Policy Advisor), John Crews (Policy Advisor), Francis Brooke (Legislative Director)

Rep. Young Kim Office (CA-40)

Senator Alex Padilla Office (D-CA) - Nate Bentham, Claire Williams

Senator Bennet (D-CO) – Eli Weiner (Legislative Assistant), Susanne Brooks (Senior Policy Advisor), James Whaley (Legislative Assistant)

Senator Blackburn Office (R-TN)– Jack Boyd (Legislative Aide), Tori Smith (Tax team lead)

Senator Britt Office (R-AL) – Caroline Moore (Legislative Assistant)
John Degaris (Legislative Correspondent)

Senator Cassidy Office (R-LA) – Nick Molling (Tax Lead)

Senator Cornyn Office (R-TX) – Josh Gohlke (Legislative Correspondent)

Senator Cruz Office (R-TX) – Haakon Santaella (Legislative Assistant)

Senator Daines Office (R-MT) –  Caroline Oakum (Tax Counsel)

Senator Dianne Feinstein Office (D-CA)

Senator Hickenlooper Office (D-CO)

Senator Hirono (D-HI) – Benjamin Strand (Senior Policy Adviser), Coti-Lynne Haia (Chief of Staff), Jed D'Ercole (Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative Director), Jen Burks (Senior Policy Advisor)

Senator Hyde-Smith Office (R-MS) – Hayes Heredia (Junior Legislative Assistant)

Senator Kelly Office (D-AZ) –  Mayra Salinas (Counsel)

Senator Kennedy (R-LA) – Josh Dunn (Legislative Correspondent)

Senator Hirono (D-HI) – Benjamin Strand (Senior Policy Adviser), Coti-Lynne Haia (Chief of Staff), Jed D'Ercole (Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative Director), Jen Burks (Senior Policy Advisor)

Senator Schatz (D-HI) – Arun Revana (Legislative Director), Reema Dodin (Chief of Staff), Robert Joyce (Appropriations Director/Economic Policy Adviser)

Senator Schumer (D-NY) – Bobby Andres (Legislative Assistant) Jen Brown (Banking Counsel) Sohil Khurana (Associate Counsel)

Senator Vance (R-OH) – Jacob Reses (Chief of Staff), Taylor LaJoie (Senior Legislative Assistant)

Senator Wyden Office (D-OR) – Alice, Sydney

Senate Finance staff (D) – Alice Lin (Tax Policy Adviser), Ann Cammack (Senior Counsel, Tax), Grace Enda (Tax Policy Analyst), Sarah Schaefer (Chief Adviser, Tax), Rachael Kauss (Senior Adviser, Tax Policy)

Senate Finance staff (R) – Jamie Cummins (Senior Tax Counsel)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Marc DeCourcey, Rob Glenn

House Committee on Ways & Means – Andrew Grossman

Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Ways & Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-8)