2009 News Archives
IAFF Statement on Pending Senate Approval of
Health Care Reform Legislation
December 23, 2009 -- The IAFF is disappointed that the U.S. Senate has chosen to
pay for reform of the nation’s health care system by taxing people who work for
a living by imposing an excise tax on health care plans that cover our members
today. The excise tax is a benefit killer that will shift more health care costs
onto an estimated 25 million working families in 2019 or force a cut in the
benefits those workers receive. In stark contrast to the Senate bill, the House
of Representatives has passed legislation reforming the health care system
without resorting to taxing the health care benefits received by fire fighters
and other working Americans. The IAFF will be working hard over the coming days
to ensure that the final bill reflects the House approach to funding health care
Passes Legislation Improving FIRE Act/SAFER Grant Programs
November 18, 2009 – By a vote of 395-31, on November 18, the U.S. House of
Representatives passed H.R. 3791, the FIRE Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009.
The bill makes improvements to both the Assistance to Fire Fighters (FIRE Act)
and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs
that will significantly benefit professional fire departments in the United
Approves Landmark Health Reform
November 10, 2009 – By a 220-215 vote late Saturday, the U.S. House of
Representatives passed the most comprehensive reform of our nation’s health
insurance system since Congress created Medicare and Medicaid over four decades
ago. The bill (H.R. 3962) creates a new insurance exchange similar to the one
available to members of Congress and expands Medicaid to reduce our nation’s
uninsured population by over two-thirds—all without taxing health benefits.
November 5 Is Day of Action on Health Care Reform
November 3, 2009 – The IAFF remains committed to fighting on its members' behalf
for health care reform that protects the benefit plans our members have and
reduces costs both to our members and their employers. Specifically, this union
has been lobbying against a plan to tax so-called "Cadillac" health insurance
plans to finance the health care overhaul.
Ryan White Notification
October 22, 2009 – The U.S. Congress has approved legislation restoring
notification requirements for emergency response personnel exposed to infectious
diseases while on duty. The provision was included as part of S. 1793, the Ryan
White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009.
Legislation Doubling SAFER
Funding Soon to Become Law
October 19, 2009 – A House-Senate Conference Committee has approved a final
version of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriation for FY 2010
that doubles funding for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response
(SAFER) grants. HR 2892 increases the SAFER appropriation to $420 million,
providing funding to hire thousands of fire fighters. The bill passed the House
on October 15 by a vote of 307-114, and is scheduled for a final vote in the
Senate. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
Defense Bill Benefits Federal
October 14, 2009 – The FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill soon to be approved by
Congress includes several provisions important to the nation’s federal fire
fighters. HR 2647 eliminates the National Security Personnel System (NSPS),
transitions employees in Hawaii and Alaska to locality pay, credits federal
employee sick leave toward retirement, and excludes a provision to create
special age requirements for military retirees for certain federal jobs,
including fire fighter positions.
IAFF Affiliates to Gain Under Proposed
October 9, 2009 – Legislation about to be introduced in Congress would make
improvements to both the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) and Staffing for
Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs that will
significantly benefit professional U.S. fire departments. The IAFF and other
national fire service organizations have secured the endorsement of a key
congressional committee for a compromise proposal that will reauthorize the FIRE
Act and SAFER programs for five years and change the way grants are awarded.
Apply for the 2010 Political
September 4, 2009 – The IAFF is
accepting applications for the 2010 Political Training
Academy, scheduled for February 27-March 5, 2010, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Applications must be received at the IAFF no later than Friday, November 6.
Bargaining Bill Re-Introduced In Senate
August 7, 2009 – The IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, the Public
Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (S 1611) has been reintroduced by
Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), just moments before the
Senate adjourned for its month-long summer recess. This gives IAFF members the
opportunity to lobby their senators during the August break when many will be in
their home states.
New Bills Benefit Federal Fire
July 31, 2009 – With strong support from the IAFF, Representative Gerry Connolly
(D-VA) and John Sarbanes (D-MD) have introduced a pair of bills that would make
historic progress on two key issues for federal fire fighters: retirement pay
and trade time agreements.
Health Benefits Tax Losing Steam
July 9, 2009 – An aggressive lobbying campaign led by the IAFF has dampened
enthusiasm on Capitol Hill for paying for health reform by imposing a tax on
employer-provided health benefits. The IAFF has argued that such a tax would
disproportionately impact the nation’s fire fighters and other unionized
IAFF Testifies Before House on
Improving FIRE Act and SAFER
July 9, 2009 – The IAFF testified before a House Subcommittee July 8 regarding
the need to amend the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) and Staffing for
Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs to enable more
communities to take full advantage of the programs.
House Approves Doubling SAFER Funding
July 1, 2009 – The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a Homeland
Security Appropriation bill that doubles funding for the Staffing for Adequate
Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The bill calls for spending
$420 million on the program, which provides grants to help communities hire fire
fighters. The bill also provides funding for a variety of other fire service
programs, including $390 million for the Assistance Firefighters Grant (AFG)
program, commonly known as FIRE Act grants.
President Obama Approves New SAFER Rules
June 24, 2009 – President Barack Obama has approved new rules that govern how
fire departments can use funding from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and
Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, an important change during the
economic crisis that has caused widespread layoffs of fire fighters throughout
Senate Panel Matches SAFER, FIRE Funding Levels
June 19, 2009 – A U.S. Senate panel has provided $420 million for the
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program and $380
million for Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) grants in 2010. The funding was
approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in its draft Homeland Security
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 on a unanimous vote.
New Rules Allow SAFER Grants to Prevent Layoffs,
June 18, 2009 – Congress has
voted to allow the use of federal funding to rehire laid off fire fighters and
prevent fire department staffing reductions. The new rules for Staffing for
Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants make funding available to
help keep IAFF members safe and on the job and bring back those who have been
laid off as a result of the current financial crisis. The bill is now on its way
to the White House.
House Panel Approves Obama SAFER Funding Proposal
June 9, 2009 – The U.S. House of Representatives has taken the first step
toward increasing funding for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response
(SAFER) grants in 2010 by providing $420 million for the program in a draft
appropriations bill. The bill, the Homeland Security Appropriations Act for
Fiscal Year 2010, was approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Fire Station Construction Grant Application Period to Open June 8
June 3, 2009 – The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Fire Station Construction grant
application period is expected to begin June 8, 2009. These grants will provide
funding directly to fire departments on a competitive basis to build new or
modify existing fire stations in order to enhance response capabilities and
better protect communities from fire and fire-related hazards. The Fire Station
Construction grants were derived from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
of 2009. Congress appropriated a total of $210 million for Fiscal Year 2009 for
IAFF Looks Forward to Improved Fire
Fighting Standards and Better Safety at U.S. Airports
Washington, DC – International
Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger today
released this statement on passage of H.R. 915 by the U.S. House of
Representatives. With passage of the FAA Reauthorization, the Federal Aviation
Administration will be required to update current aircraft rescue and fire
fighting standards and the safety of the flying public will be vastly improved.
IAFF Testifies on Improving Hazardous
May 15, 2009 – The IAFF
testified before the U.S. House
Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials May 14 as part of
the committee’s efforts to update federal laws addressing the transportation of
hazardous materials. Elizabeth Harman, director of the IAFF Hazardous Materials/WMD
Training Department, discussed the importance of hazardous materials response
training and the need to improve hazardous materials identification tools for
Funding to Protect Fire Fighter Jobs Moves
May 15, 2009 – Legislation to provide federal financial assistance to
enable local fire departments to rehire laid off fire fighters and avoid
staffing cuts has moved forward in both the House and Senate.
Urges Lawmakers to Bolster Airport Safety by Improving Fire Fighting Standards
– International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A.
Schaitberger today released this statement prior to a hearing on Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization held by the U.S. Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Aviation Operations,
Safety and Security.
Obama Calls for
Doubling Funding for SAFER
Responds to IAFF Priority
May 8, 2009 – In his first formal budget request, President Barack Obama
fulfilled a campaign commitment by proposing a huge funding increase for
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, the IAFF’s
signature program. The Obama budget proposed $420 million for SAFER, doubling
the funding that the program received last year.
Panel Approves Use of SAFER Grants for Rehire, Retention
May 7, 2009 – The House Appropriations Committee has approved legislation that
would enable fire departments to use Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency
Response (SAFER) grants to rehire laid off fire fighters and avoid reductions in
force (RIFs). The language, which was crafted and proposed by the IAFF, would
allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to waive various requirements on
SAFER grants that prevent grants from being used to address cuts in fire
Tune in to the IAFF Legislative Conference
March 13, 2009 – A webcast of the 2009 Alfred K.
Whitehead Legislative Conference will be available on the IAFF web site
beginning Monday, March 16.
Funding for Fire Service in
Key Provisions Provide Aid to Struggling Communities
February 13, 2009 – Congressional leaders and the Obama administration have
agreed on a compromise economic stimulus package that will provide more than
$200 billion to states and localities facing budget shortfalls. This critically
needed funding will help alleviate the pressure on fire department budgets in
communities across the nation. The legislation is expected to pass Congress this
week, and be quickly signed into law by President Obama.
Napolitano Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary
January 21, 2009 -- In the hours immediately following Barack Obama’s
inauguration as president of the United States, the U.S. Senate voted
unanimously to confirm Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security. Her confirmation follows hearings by the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs at which Committee
members praised her record on public safety and her commitment to working with
IAFF, IAFC, CFSI Support Keeping FEMA in DHS
January 8, 2009 – The IAFF, in conjunction with the International Association of
Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus (CFSI), is urging
the Obama administration to retain the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) as a core component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
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