IAFF Testifies on Capitol Hill to Improve Wildfire
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
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.
PHOTO GALLERY: IAFF Legislative Conference
ICYMI: IAFF Legislative Conference Speaker Videos
March 18, 2014 -- Watch video of speakers at the 2014
IAFF Legislative Conference. Read More...
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.
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
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
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.
Government Shutdown Ends, New
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.
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.
IAFF Leader Discusses Wildland Firefighting with
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.
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).
Contentious Debate Nearly Derails SAFER
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.
IAFF Scores Major Victories
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.
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.
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.
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.
Senate Advances SAFER/FIRE
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
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.
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.
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.
IAFF Testifies to Improve U.S.
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.
House Adopts Budget Plan that Targets Fire
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.
IAFF Succeeds in Easing Normal Retirement Age
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.
IAFF Scores Major Victory on Broadband
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.
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.
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
President Obama Proposes Billions for New
Jobs Initiative to Hire Fire Fighters, Preferences to Jurisdictions for Hiring
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
IAFF Weighs In On “Super Committee” Deficit
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.
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
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.
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
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
Budget: The Good and
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
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.
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.
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.
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
111th Congress Adjourns
2010 -- The 111th Congress adjourned today, and as with every legislative
session, there is good news and bad news for fire fighters.
A Message from the General President on the Zadroga
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gridlocked Senate Rejects Cloture for
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Status Update on FAA
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breaking News: Health Care
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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