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IAFF Testifies on Capitol Hill to Improve Wildfire Training, Coordination
June 6, 2014 – IAFF Assistant to the General President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy Kevin O’Connor told a Congressional subcommittee June 5 the federal approach to managing wildfires must evolve, recommending the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Commission to jumpstart the process. O’Connor delivered his remarks before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations and the District of Columbia. Read More...

IAFF Testifies Before Congress on Hazardous Materials Reauthorization
April 3, 2014 – Elizabeth Harman, IAFF Assistant to the General President, spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials April 2 about crude oil, how it is transported safely, the level of training fire fighters have and should receive and the need to update standards for testing crude in light of several oil-by-rail mishaps. 
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PHOTO GALLERY: IAFF Legislative Conference
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ICYMI: IAFF Legislative Conference Speaker Videos
March 18, 2014 -- Watch video of speakers at the 2014 IAFF Legislative Conference. Read More...

Congress Passes Fiscal Year 2014 Spending Package
January 17, 2014 – After months of political wrangling that frayed partisan tensions and resulted in a lengthy government shutdown, Congress wrapped up its work this week on legislation funding the federal government for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill, H.R. 3547, passed the Senate by a vote of 72-26. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives 359-67 earlier in the week. 
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Budget Deal Mixed Bag for Fire Fighters
December 19, 2013 – The United States Senate on December 18 voted 64-36 to pass a long-anticipated budget deal setting top-line spending levels for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The vote follows approval of the deal last week in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
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Schaitberger Urges President Obama to Establish Task Force on Wildland Fire Fighting
November 1, 2013 –
General President Harold Schaitberger is urging President Obama to take immediate action and appoint a task force on wildland fires. In a letter to the president Schaitberger wrote, "Today’s issues and challenges surrounding wildland fires are analogous to the issues surrounding urban fire problems of the previous generation. To address adequately the wildland issues, the federal government must take a lead role in coordinating and leading the effort.”  Read More...

Schaitberger to Congress: Protect Fire Fighters in Budget Deal
October 31, 2013 – As Congress begins work to negotiate a budget framework for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014, President Harold Schaitberger urged members of a Congressional budget conference committee to protect policies benefiting America’s fire fighters in any final deal.  Read More...

Government Shutdown Ends, New Deadline Looms
October 17, 2013 – Late on October 16, Congress voted to pass a stop-gap measure to end the government shutdown that had plagued the nation for nearly three weeks. The bill, H.R. 2775, also prevented a government default by raising the debt ceiling, provides back pay for furloughed federal workers and includes $636 million for urgent wildland fire suppression activities.  Read More...

Schaitberger Urges Congress to Protect Vital Tax Provisions for Fire Fighters
August 1, 2013 -- IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger outlined the IAFF’s priorities for federal tax reform in a letter sent July 25 to the Senate Finance Committee. Schaitberger is urging Congress to protect a number of specific tax provisions that benefit fire fighters and emergency response personnel, including continuing the tax exclusions for employer-provided health care and pension contributions. 
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IAFF Leader Discusses Wildland Firefighting with Congress
July 31, 2013 -- CDF Firefighters Local 2881 Officer and retired CAL FIRE Deputy Fire Chief Rick Swan recently met with congressional leaders and other wildland fire experts to discuss the threats posed by the increased severity of wildland fires and the expansion of the wildland-urban interface. 
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House Advances IAFF Priorities
June 6, 2013 –
In a busy week for the fire service on Capitol Hill, three IAFF-backed amendments funding critical fire service programs were adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendments, which were added to the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), increased funding for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs, the Urban Search and Rescue Response System (US&R) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).  Read More...

Contentious Debate Nearly Derails SAFER Waivers
May 23, 2013 –– A House panel has voted to approve an IAFF-backed amendment extending the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) waivers for one additional year, through Fiscal Year 2014. The vote occurred as the House Appropriations Committee considered legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2014.  Read More...

IAFF Scores Major Victories Despite Gridlock
January 14, 2013 -- While political pundits are lamenting the gridlock that dominated the recently adjourned 112th Congress, the IAFF is celebrating a string of legislative accomplishments in the closing days of the session.  Read More...

Fiscal Cliff Deal Fixes AMT, Protects Fire Fighter Benefits
January 14, 2013 -- While the agreement to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and delay across-the-board spending cuts avoided the January 1 deadline known as the “fiscal cliff,” the package also resolves one of the IAFF’s longest-standing tax issues. Additionally, several proposals that would have placed a huge financial burden on the nation’s professional fire fighters were dropped from the package.  Read More...

Much at Stake for Fire Fighters in Year-End Congressional Frenzy
December 20, 2012 -- With Congress working overtime to find a solution to the so-called "Fiscal Cliff," the IAFF has been on Capitol Hill fighting for the interests of the nation’s fire fighters.  Read More...

Congress Repeals Restriction on Fire Fighters Running for Political Office
December 20, 2012 -- With just days left in the 2012 session, Congress passed legislation expanding the political rights of fire fighters and other state and municipal workers. S.2170, the Hatch Act Modernization Act, was adopted in the Senate on November 30 and in the House on December 19. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.  Read More...

Senate Advances SAFER/FIRE Reauthorization
November 30, 2012 -- One of the IAFF’s top legislative priorities for the lame duck session of Congress is one step closer to enactment. On November 29, the Senate voted unanimously to reauthorize and improve the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs.  Read More...

Senate Votes to Expand PSOB
November 29, 2012 - The Senate voted November 28 to improve the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) program, expanding the definition of cardiovascular disease to include deaths caused by aneurysms. Under current law, PSOB can be paid to the families of fire fighters who die from heart attacks and strokes, but the Department of Justice has narrowly interpreted that language and excluded deaths caused by aneurysms.  Read More...

House Adopts Bill Funding Fire Service Grants, US&R Teams
June 11, 2012 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation funding federal homeland security programs, including fire fighter grants and the Urban Search and Rescue Response System. The FY 2013 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act, H.R. 5855, passed by a vote of 234-182. The bill includes the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) waivers that allow federal funds to be used to rehire laid-off fire fighters. 
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Congress Takes First Steps to Advance SAFER Waivers
May 21, 2012 – Congress took significant action last week to advance the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) waivers for Fiscal Year 2013. Committees in both the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate passed legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and extending the waivers for an additional year.  Read More...

IAFF Testifies to Improve U.S. Fire Administration
May 18, 2012 – Assistant to the General President for Governmental and Public Affairs, Kevin O’Connor, told a Congressional panel May 18 that the United States Fire Administration (USFA) must evolve to meet the needs of the modern fire service. O’Connor delivered his remarks before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation along with U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.  Read More...

House Adopts Budget Plan that Targets Fire Fighters
May 10, 2012 – The House of Representatives has brushed aside objections from the White House and the IAFF to endorse a budget plan that will result in significant cutbacks in fire protection and require federal fire fighters to pay more out of pocket to qualify for a pension. The legislation, HR 5652, was approved by a vote of 218-199.  Read More...

IAFF Succeeds in Easing Normal Retirement Age Regulations
April 20, 2012 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced April 18 that it has agreed to overhaul proposed regulations that would have created significant problems for many public sector pension plans. Under the original regulations, all public sector pension plans would have been required to specify a “Normal Retirement Age,” and would not have been allowed to define retirement based on years of service or a combination of age and years of service. For example, plans that defined normal retirement as “age 50 with 25 years of service” would have been in danger of losing their tax exempt status. The proposed revisions represent a significant victory for the IAFF, capping a five-year campaign to protect fire fighter pension plans. 
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IAFF Scores Major Victory on Broadband Spectrum
February 21, 2012– A national communications network dedicated to public safety took a giant step forward today as President Obama signed a bill that transfers 10 megahertz of broadband spectrum – known as the D Block – to be used by first responders in emergencies.  Read More...

Presidential Budget Generous to Fire Fighters
February 14, 2012 – President Obama has proposed nearly $3 billion for first responders in his budget for Fiscal Year 2013, including $670 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs. In addition, the president’s budget proposes an additional $1 billion in immediate assistance for SAFER under a new First Responder Stabilization Fund. 
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IAFF Fights Bad Pension Bill That Will Hurt Federal Fire Fighters
February 8, 2012 – The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has approved H.R. 3813 on a party line 22-16 vote. The misnamed Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act of 2012 will devastate the retirement benefits of federal employees while also forcing them to pay more for those reduced benefits. General President Harold Schaitberger sent a scathing letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Darrell Issa (R-CA) blasting the legislation.  Read the letter here.

President Obama Proposes Billions for New Jobs Initiative to Hire Fire Fighters, Preferences to Jurisdictions for Hiring Veterans
February 3, 2012 – President Barack Obama, with IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger sitting close by, outlined an aggressive plan to provide more than $1 billion to hire and keep fire fighters on the frontlines, while giving preferences to jurisdictions for hiring veterans after returning from their tours of duty abroad.  Read More...

Congress Increases Funding for USAR Teams
December 21, 2011 – In a significant development, Congress has increased funding for the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Response System for Fiscal Year 2012. The system will receive $41.25 million, an increase of $6 million, making it one the very few programs to receive a funding boost for Fiscal Year 2012.  Read More...

IAFF Scores Huge Congressional Victory
December 17, 2011 – In one of its final actions in 2011, Congress has passed an Omnibus Appropriations Bill that makes more than $742 million in Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants available to struggling communities and extends the “SAFER waivers” for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012. The waivers ensure that fire departments can use SAFER grants to rehire and retain fire fighters, in addition to hiring additional personnel.  Read More...

Ohioans Vote No on Issue 2, Preserve Collective Bargaining for Fire Fighters
November 8, 2011 -- Ohio voters have delivered a resounding message to their governor – one that will likely reverberate across the nation in the coming months – soundly rejecting his effort to destroy collective bargaining for fire fighters and other public employees.  Read More...

IAFF Local President Takes Fight to Capitol Hill to Protect Health Benefits
November 7, 2011 --
Prince George's County, MD Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis joined key lawmakers in Congress November 5 in opposition to any effort to tax employer-provided health benefits. Speaking near the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Lieutenant Pantelis of the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department was joined by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Cole (R-OK). The two lawmakers from opposing parties have sent a bipartisan letter signed by 160 members of Congress to the powerful “Super Committee,” which is tasked to come up with up to $1.5 trillion in savings to the federal budget.  Read More...

IAFF Weighs In On “Super Committee” Deficit Reduction Work
October 12, 2011 -- The IAFF has applauded the work of the congressional “Super Committee” that is writing a plan to reduce the federal deficit, but urged the Committee to avoid making cuts that would harm public safety.  Read More...

Obama Proposes $1 Billion for Fire Fighter Jobs
September 9, 2011 – As part of a comprehensive jobs proposal presented to Congress September 8, President Obama proposed spending $1 billion to protect fire fighters’ jobs and grow staffing levels. If approved, the funding would be sufficient to rehire every laid-off fire fighter and still add thousands of new positions. 
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House Votes to Restore FIRE, SAFER Funding; Extend SAFER Waivers
June 2, 2011 – The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to pass two amendments to the Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, restoring funds to the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs and extending the SAFER waivers to save fire fighter jobs.  Read More...

House Proposal Guts Homeland Security Funding
May 13, 2011 – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security has approved a Republican proposal to slash funding for first responders by more than $1 billion, including significant cuts to the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant programs. 
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Key House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Dangerous Pension Bill
May 9, 2011 – The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing May 5 on the highly controversial Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (H.R. 567). The hearing was called by the Chairman, Representative Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA), and featured witnesses from think-tanks, the financial sector and state government.  Read More...

Budget: The Good and the Bad
April 14, 2011 -- The budget agreement that was adopted today to fund the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year contains some good news for the nation’s fire fighters. Unfortunately, the legislation also includes significant cuts and does not fully extend the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) waiver authority on key elements of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. Read More...

IAFF Encourages Continuation of HazMat Training
April 7, 2011— The IAFF testified April 7 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials to encourage the reauthorization of a bill that includes funding for an annual grant allowing the IAFF to provide a train-the-trainer hazardous materials program. The Subcommittee called for the information-gathering hearing because it is writing the legislation. Read More...

VICTORY! Price Amendment Passes, SAFER Waivers Restored in House
February 17, 2011 – For the second time in as many days, the IAFF beat long odds and won passage of a significant amendment to protect fire fighters’ jobs nationwide. The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to extend the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) waivers, which have helped hundreds of communities avoid fire fighter layoffs and bring laid-off fire fighters back to work. 
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IAFF Scores Big Win for SAFER and FIRE Act
February 16, 2011 – Overcoming long odds, fire fighters nationwide scored a significant victory when the U.S. House of Representatives voted 318-113 to reject massive cuts to fire fighter grants.  Read More...

Proposed Budget Cuts in House will Jeopardize Public Safety and Put Fire Fighters at Risk

February 12, 2011 - The International Association of Fire Fighters today urged members of Congress to reject a proposal to slash funding for two crucial federal programs that fund public safety.  Read More...

 

FIREPAC Unveils New Donor Club Level

January 3, 2011 -- Effective January 1, the IAFF has rolled out a new FIREPAC donor club level — the Chairman’s Council — for members who contribute $750 or more per calendar year.  Read More...
 

111th Congress Adjourns

December 22, 2010 -- The 111th Congress adjourned today, and as with every legislative session, there is good news and bad news for fire fighters.  Read More...

 

A Message from the General President on the Zadroga Act
December 22, 2010 -- Today Congress finally did the right thing and approved the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, H.R. 847, nine years following the terrorist attacks.  Read More...

 

A Message from the General President on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act

December 22, 2010 -- The 111th Congress adjourned today without passing the IAFF’s top legislative priority – national collective bargaining. There is no way to sugar coat the significance of this loss. In spite of our best efforts, we came up short.  Read More...

 

FIREPAC Tops $5 Million Mark

December 15, 2010 -- For the first time in its 32-year history, FIREPAC has topped the $5 million mark in fundraising during an election cycle (2009-2010). As of December 10, FIREPAC has raised a total of $5,042,970 for the 2010 election cycle. The $5 million total exceeds last cycle’s total of $4.6 million by 8.5 percent.  Read More...

 

Cloture Vote for Zadroga Act Fails
December 9, 2010 -- For the second time in two days, a unified GOP caucus successfully stopped IAFF legislation in the U.S. Senate, defeating a procedural vote today on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, H.R. 847.  Read More...
 

Gridlocked Senate Rejects Cloture for Collective Bargaining
December 8, 2010 -- The U.S. Senate today rejected a procedural vote on the IAFF’s collective bargaining act, stalling efforts to give fire fighters the same workplace rights that workers in the private sector have had for more than 70 years. 
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Senator Reid Outlines Plans for Collective Bargaining, Zadroga Bills
December 4, 2010 -- Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) says he plans to file motions for cloture on two key pieces of fire fighter legislation on December 6.  Read More...

Collective Bargaining Bill Moves Forward
December 1, 2010 --Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has filed a revised version of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, S. 3991, which would give fire fighters collective bargaining rights. 
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Federal Fire Fighters Secure Victory in House
October 1, 2010– Legislation to allow federal fire fighters to exchange shifts without impacting their pay was passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives September 30.  Read More...

9/11 Health and Compensation Bill Passes House
September 29, 2010– Legislation to establish health treatment and monitoring programs for World Trade Center responders was overwhelmingly approved by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Read More...

IAFF Urges Congress to Pass 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
September 15, 2010– IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  Read More...

Status Update on FAA Reauthorization
September 14, 2010 – As it returns from its annual August recess, Congress continues to finalize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill.  The IAFF has been working to secure language in the bill to bring Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) standards into conformity with existing national consensus standards.  Although the U.S. House of Representatives included IAFF-backed language to this effect in its FAA bill, the Senate bill did not contain the provision.  Read More...   

2011 Political Training Academy Application Period Now Open
September 7, 2010 -- The IAFF is now accepting applications for the 2011 Political Training Academy, scheduled for February 27-March 4, 2011, in Baltimore, Maryland. Applications to attend must be submitted online no later than Friday, November 5, 2010. Read More...

9/11 Health and Compensation Bill Defeated by Narrow Margin in House
July 30, 2010 -- Legislation to establish health treatment and monitoring programs for World Trade Center responders was narrowly defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Read More...

U.S. House of Representatives Gives Fire Fighters Collective Bargaining Rights
July 1, 2010 -- The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill to give collective bargaining rights to fire fighters and other public safety officers.  Read More...

IAFF Testifies to Improve Public Safety Communications  
June 18, 2010 -- The IAFF testified June 17 at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet on the need to improve basic communications within the fire service.  Read More...

House Approves Education Assistance for Children of Fallen Fire Fighters
May 18, 2010 -- The House of Representatives gave voice vote approval to the Daniel Faulkner Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act. The legislation provides college tuition assistance for the children of fire fighters, police officers and EMS workers killed in the line of duty. 
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FIRE Act/SAFER Reforms Move Forward
April 29, 2010 -- Legislation to improve the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs took an important step forward April 28 as the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved bill 3267, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, by voice vote. 
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Breaking News: Health Care Update
March 25, 2010 - With the Senate’s decision today on reconciliation of the health care reform bill, I want to provide some perspective on the year-long effort.  Read More...

Hearing Held On Bargaining Bill
March 10, 2010 – A House Education and Labor Subcommittee held a hearing March 10 on the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, HR 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, setting the stage for action in the House.  Read More...

Collective Bargaining Hearing Set for March 10
March 8, 2010 – The House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, HR 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, on Wednesday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building.  Read More...

Status Update on FAA Reauthorization
March 8, 2010 – The United States Senate is expected to consider S. 1451, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, in March 2010. S. 1451 is the Senate version of FAA Reauthorization bill H.R. 915, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. Unlike the House-passed bill, S. 1451 does not contain IAFF-backed language requiring the FAA to bring Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) standards into conformity with existing national consensus standards. 
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President's Budget Provides Funding for Fire Service Programs
February 1, 2010 – The White House today unveiled the president's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The proposal includes $305 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, $305 million for Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grants, $28 million for Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) and more than $2 billion to state governments and urban areas to improve their emergency response capabilities. 
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Excise Tax Update
January 14, 2010 -- We are fully aware of the media reports this afternoon that there has been a deal reached between "labor," the White House and Congressional leaders on the excise tax in the health care reform legislation being debated.  Read More...

Excise Tax Fight
January 11, 2010 -- The core political principle of this union is we support those who support us. If you make promises to us, we will hold you accountable.  Read More...

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