2007 News Archives
IAFF Wins Significant Funding for SAFER Grants
December 21, 2007 -- Despite a variety of significant obstacles as Congress
approached its annual year-end recess, the IAFF succeeded in winning a
unprecedented increase in funding for the SAFER grant program. H.R. 2764, the
Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2008, included $190 million for SAFER, an
increase of more than 65 percent over the previous year.
Defense Bill Scores Big Win for DoD Fire Fighters
December 15, 2007 -- Congress is on the verge of passing landmark legislation
containing several important protections for federal fire fighters who protect
military installations. The FY ’08 Defense Authorization (HR 1585) reinstates
important DoD employee protections, repeals the $400 cap on the DoD uniform
allowance, reinvests mutual aid reimbursements back into DoD fire service
accounts, and kills a Bush administration proposal to privatize military fire
Anti-Labor Senators Derail Fire Fighter Bargaining Bill
December 14, 2007 -- With the Senate on the verge of passing the IAFF’s national
collective bargaining bill, a small group of hard-line anti-labor senators
engaged in a series of parliamentary tactics late last night to block the Senate
from acting. With no way to overcome the obstacles, the Senate was forced to
postpone action on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act until
after the New Year.
Senate Votes to Strengthen Fire Fighter
October 25, 2007 -- The U.S. Senate unanimously voted to double funding for
the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) within
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The program,
created by the IAFF in conjunction with President Bill Clinton, conducts
investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths to formulate recommendations
for preventing future deaths and injuries.
Breakthrough on Hometown Heroes?
October 9, 2007 -- Department of Justice officials who administer the Public
Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) program have announced that DOJ is overhauling
the way it determines eligibility for heart attacks and strokes. Domingo Herraiz,
Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, spoke at a gathering of fire
service organizations and promised to make significant changes in the way his
agency evaluates PSOB claims under the Hometown Heroes Act.
IAFF Testifies Before Congress on Reducing
Fire Fighter Deaths
October 4, 2007 -- Captain Bob Livingston, legislative director for the
Oregon State Council of Fire Fighters, testified before the U.S. House of
Representatives Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation on ways the United
States Fire Administration (USFA) could help reduce fire fighter line-of-duty
Bargaining Bill Introduced in Senate
October 2, 2007 -- The IAFF’s top
legislative priority, the Public Safety Employer-Employee
Cooperation Act, was introduced in the Senate October 1 with
bipartisan support. Led by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and
Ted Kennedy (D-MA), 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats joined
together as original
sponsors of the legislation,
House Moves to Strengthen Airport Fire
September 21, 2007 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve
legislation strengthening current fire safety standards at airports. The FAA
Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2881, was passed by a vote of 267-151. As passed, the
bill requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bring Airport Rescue
and Fire Fighting (ARFF) standards into conformity with existing national
DoD Fire Fighters Get Long Overdue Uniform Allowance Hike
September 21, 2007 – The Senate has unanimously approved an amendment to the
defense authorization bill offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Lindsey
Graham (R-SC) effectively doubling to $800 the maximum yearly uniform allowance
for Department of Defense (DoD) fire fighters, the first increase in 18 years.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Fire Fighters Approved
September 10, 2007 – The U.S. Congress has approved legislation creating a
new student loan forgiveness program for full-time professional fire fighters
and other public safety employees who have served their communities for at least
10 years. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, HR 2669, passed the House
292-97 and the Senate 79-12.
Federal Presumptive Legislation Introduced in Senate
August 3, 2007 – Legislation granting disability retirement benefits to federal
fire fighters who contract certain illnesses on the job has been introduced in
the United States Senate. S. 1924, the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act,
was introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and John Warner (R-VA). The bill
creates a rebuttable presumption that federal fire fighters who become disabled
by heart disease, lung disease, certain cancers and certain infectious diseases
contracted such illnesses on the job.
IAFF Encourages Fire
Departments to Apply for SAFER Grants
July 30, 2007 – The
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the application period
for the Assistance to Firefighters Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency
Response (SAFER) grant program will begin at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on
July 30, 2007. All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight
Time on August 31, 2007.
Busy Week on Capitol
Hill for Fire Fighter Issues
July 30, 2007 – With its
annual August recess fast approaching, Congress has been hard at work on a
number of legislative initiatives championed by the IAFF and of great benefit to
America’s fire fighters. In the last week, Congress passed legislation
further implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the Senate
approved its Homeland Security funding bill for 2008, the House voted to
increase spending on E-911 initiatives, and the House passed legislation aimed
at ending the delays facing families who have applied for Hometown Heroes
benefits from the Department of Justice.
House Passes Collective Bargaining Bill
July 17, 2007 – The U.S.
House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed HR 980, the Public Safety
Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007, which guarantees collective
bargaining rights for every fire fighter in the nation. The measure received
widespread, bipartisan support, prompting leaders from both parties to consider
the bill under an expedited procedure usually reserved for non-controversial
legislation. HR 980, which cleared the House by a margin of 314-97, is the
IAFF’s single most important legislative initiative.
Sign Up for the New FIREPAC Recurring Online Contribution
July 3, 2007 -- The IAFF
has introduced an online contribution option for members to contribute monthly –
and automatically – to one of FIREPAC’s donor clubs. The new auto-draft program,
available now, is similar to a dues check-off program.
Wins Pollie Award
June 25, 2007 -- The American Association of
Political Consultants has recognized the IAFF once again with the prestigious
Pollie Award in the “Independent Expenditure/527 Communications” category for
direct mail for “Wildfires.” The winning mailer was part of a four-piece direct
mail campaign the IAFF used during the Montana Senate general election in 2006.
House Panel Approves IAFF Bargaining Bill
June 20, 2007 – Years of hard work by IAFF members
across the country has paid off with the June 20 House Committee vote of 42 to 1
to guarantee collective bargaining rights for every fire fighter in the nation.
The vote sends HR 980, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, to
the full House of Representatives. Read
Bargaining Bill Posed for Action
June 11, 2007 -- Within the next few weeks, the U.S. House of
Representatives is expected to cast the first recorded vote in its history on
granting fire fighters collective bargaining rights. The Committee on Education
and Labor is working toward scheduling Committee action this month, followed by
a vote in the full House of Representatives.
Bargaining Bill Supported by Majority in House
May 29, 2007 -- IAFF legislation to ensure collective bargaining rights for
all fire fighters has won the support of a clear majority in the U.S. House of
Representatives -- 229 of the 440 members of the House have signed on as
cosponsors. The bill continues to enjoy strong, bipartisan support with 60
Republicans joining 169 Democrats on the bill.
Legislative Victories for New York, Gulf Coast Heroes
May 25, 2007 – The IAFF has achieved two major legislative
victories with the recent passage of the Iraq War Supplemental Appropriations
bill. In addition to providing funding for American troops overseas, the
legislation includes $50 million for New York City fire fighters who responded
to 9/11 and frees up federal funding for Gulf Coast fire fighters impacted by
Hurricane Katrina. The bill also includes a provision increasing the minimum
wage to $7.25. Read
House Panel Doubles SAFER Funding
May 18, 2007 -- A House Appropriations Subcommittee has
approved legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security, doubling
funding for the SAFER grant program. The spending bill, sponsored by
Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-NC), also provides increased funding for
the FIRE Act grant program and funds a new interoperable communications grant
program. Read More...
House Committee Stands Up For Military Fire Fighters
May 11, 2007 – The House Armed Services Committee, led by Chairman Ike Skelton
(D-MO) and Ranking Member Duncan Hunter (R-CA), have unanimously rejected a
proposal by the Department of Defense (DoD) to privatize military fire fighting.
The Committee also added language to the annual Defense Authorization bill to
secure collective bargaining rights for thousands of fire fighters and other DoD
IAFF-Backed Provisions Included in Iraq War Supplemental
May 2, 2007 -- President George W. Bush has vetoed the Supplemental
Appropriation Bill providing funding for the Iraq War that also includes a
number of provisions important to the nation’s fire fighters. Bush rejected the
measure because it seeks to end U.S. military involvement in Iraq, but his veto
derails several other provisions included in the bill.
IAFF Seeks Fair Implementation of Hometown Heroes
April 20, 2007 -- The IAFF, in conjunction with the International Association of
Fire Chiefs and other national groups representing the interests of the fire
service, have sent a letter to President George Bush requesting that he examine
the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) program to ensure that fallen fire
fighters are receiving benefits mandated by the Hometown Heroes Act.
Collective Bargaining Bill Is More Than Halfway to Goal of
April 20, 2007 -- Thanks to the efforts of grassroots IAFF activists, 133
members of the House of Representatives have signed on as cosponsors of HR 980,
the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. The number puts the IAFF
well on the way to achieve its goal of having 218 cosponsors – a majority of the
House of Representatives – and virtually ensures passage of the legislation.
Application Deadline for FIRE Act Grants Is May 4
March 30, 2007 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be accepting
applications for the 2007 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program through
May 4, 2007. Using new criteria – which should benefit many of the fire
departments represented by IAFF locals – DHS will give a higher level of
consideration to departments with a high call volume and to departments that
protect large populations.
Message to Congress: AMT Should Not Tax Fire Fighters
March 23, 2007 – Michael Day, president of Baltimore County, MD Local 1311,
testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee
March 22 that the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) could hit fire fighters hard
with a tax increase next year if Congress fails to protect them from it.
IAFF Presidential Forum Catches National Spotlight
The IAFF Presidential Forum -- the first bipartisan event of its kind --
captured international media attention March 14, making headline news as eleven
of the top candidates from both parties addressed more than 1,000 IAFF leaders
and members. The Presidential Forum began the process of deciding which
candidate will earn the IAFF’s support in the 2008 election.
Follow the coverage...
Legislative Conference Attendees Make Great Strides in
March 19, 2007 – Members of Congress have responded overwhelmingly to the more
than 900 IAFF members who stormed Capitol Hill March 13 as part of the 2007
Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference. Dozens of members of Congress have
signed on to support IAFF legislative priorities over the past week.
IAFF Says Federal First Responder Support Is Inadequate
March 9, 2007 – Blaming a lack of commitment by the Bush administration, IAFF
General President Harold Schaitberger testified before a U.S. House Homeland
Security Subcommittee hearing March 9 on “Preparing for Disasters, Natural or
Otherwise” that the United States is not much better prepared to respond than
before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
IAFF Endorses Remaining 9/11 Commission Recommendations
February 28, 2007 – IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger met with members
of the 9/11 Commission, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Chair of the
Senate Homeland Security Committee Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and other U.S. senators
February 28 to discuss the implementation of the remaining 9/11 Commission
recommendations and other first responder needs.
Federal Presumptive Legislation Introduced in House
February 20, 2007 – Legislation granting disability retirement benefits to
federal fire fighters who contact certain illnesses on the job has been
introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bargaining Bill Introduced in House
February 12, 2007 – The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation was
introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Dale Kildee (D-MI)
and John Duncan (R-TN). IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has
identified the Cooperation Act, HR 980, as the IAFF’s highest legislative
DHS Posts Workshop Schedule for 2007 FIRE Act Grant
January 25, 2007 – Beginning January 25, the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE
Act) FY 2007 workshop schedule is
available online. Administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office
of Grants and Training (G&T) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration,
the FIRE Act grant program assists rural, urban and suburban fire departments
throughout the United States in funding activities including the purchase of
fire fighting equipment, personal protective equipment, training, fire fighting
and EMS vehicles and other first responder safety projects.
Congress Highlights Fire Fighter Issues
January 10, 2007 -- The new 110th Congress is off to a quick start, placing fire
fighter issues at the forefront of its agenda, including HR.1 – a proposal to
fully implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission – which the House of
Representatives passed overwhelming in a 299-128 vote January 9.
Politics and Legislation News