Schaitberger, Delegates Protest Bush Veto

Las Vegas, NV – IAFF Convention proceedings took a turn on Wednesday morning after delegates learned of President Bush’s veto of a $5.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill that he had earlier pledged to sign. The bill contained a number of provisions that would have backed up the President’s promise to help America’s first responders. Bush’s reason for not signing is the number of non-related items included in the bill including campaign finance reform funds.

Among the bill’s appropriations for the fire service were:

  • 150 million dollars for the Fire Act;
  • Seed money to begin the Homeland Security initiative;
  • 100 million dollars to improve firefighters radio communications;
  • Money to assist wildland fire fighting;
  • 25 million dollars for monitoring the health effects of the World Trade Center collapse on New York firefighters.

After Sen. Tom Daschle’s remarks concluded, General President Schaitberger joined the Majority Leader in decrying the move. The General President concluded his remarks by asking delegates to email the White House, call the comment line, or write to President Bush with their comments.

Convention delegates then spontaneously rose to call for tangible protest against the Bush veto. Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Association President Mike Mohler made a floor motion to consider public action protesting the decision and requesting that members of Congress vote to override the veto. Mohler accepted President Schaitberger’s appointment to chair an ad hoc committee to plan the protest.