WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger issued this statement today on President Bush's proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget: "As the end of the president's term in office mercifully draws closer, his proposed budget is another example of his words not matching his deeds. "President Bush says he wants to protect Americans, but his budget proposal proves his words are meaningless. Once again, he has proposed eliminating or drastically reducing funding for important programs that make our neighborhoods, our citizens and our country safer. "A president interested in protecting Americans would not cut funding for the Homeland Security Department's first responder grant programs. President Bush is surprisingly ignorant of the value that the FIRE Act and SAFER grants provide to the smallest towns and the largest cities across this country. "It shouldn't come as a surprise that President Bush is no friend of fire fighters because he is a repeat offender. The president's budget proposal for Fiscal 2009 proposes merely $300 million for the FIRE Act - the same amount he proposed in his Fiscal 2008 budget. He also proposes eliminating SAFER grant programs - just as he did in his Fiscal 2008 budget. "With his short-sighted budget proposal, President Bush has ignored the wishes of Congress, which made a very strong bipartisan statement last year when it saved the SAFER grant program and boosted funding for the FIRE Act. In the end, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle understood the value of the first responder grant programs, appropriating $560 million for the Fire Act and $190 million for SAFER grants. "The IAFF will again work with Congress to restore funding to the Homeland Security Department's first responder grant programs and protect Americans, despite President Bush's attempt to eviscerate our nation's security." The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 287,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More information is available at www.iaff.org.
SOURCE International Association of Fire Fighters