"....to educate Members of Congress about fire and life safety issues."
Whether you are a firefighter, emergency services responder, manufacturer or fire service leader, the United States Congress is more aware of your concerns because of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI). Established in 1989 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute, CFSI is designed to educate members of Congress about the needs and challenges of our nation's fire and emergency services so that the federal government provides the types of training and funding needed by our first responders.
To learn about our mission on Capitol Hill please click here.
ARTHUR J. GLATFELTER - Our Leader, Our Friend - Leaves Behind An Incredible Legacy. We Mourn His Loss and Bid Him a Peaceful Journey.
Art Glatfelter with Congressman Curt Weldon, Vice President Al Gore, Congressman Steny Hoyer and Senator Paul Sarbanes. 1993
The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s Board of Directors and staff extend their thoughts and prayers to the family of Art Glatfelter who passed away in his hometown of York, Pennsylvania on February 14, 2013.
Widely respected by both fire service leaders and congressional leaders, Art recognized the importance of establishing an organization that could unite the fire service around a common agenda when the idea was first broached by Art’s friend, Congressman Curt Weldon in 1989. An original member of the CFSI Board of Directors, Art remained an active member until stepping down in 2008. While contributions to CFSI and the many organizations and causes that benefited from his altruism cannot be quantified, his legacy has left an indelible mark on our organization and so many others.
We are forever grateful to Art for his support of our mission. A dear friend of utmost integrity and character and a true American hero — Art Glatfelter will be missed by many. At the 2008 National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner, I delivered a tribute to Art following his decision to step down from our board. It attempts to capture what Art has meant to me personally and to our organization. I would like to share it one more time as my way of paying tribute to my dear friend.
Bill Webb, CFSI Executive Director
TRIBUTE TO ART GLATFELTER
One of my favorite Will Rogers quotes is — and no it's not "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when a baby gets hold of a hammer" — but rather, "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."
Tonight, I'd like to sit on the curb for a brief minute or two and clap for my dear friend and mentor Art Glatfelter. Art is the kind of hero who truly symbolizes the virtues and ideals of our great nation. A model of generosity and integrity, Art has been there for our nation's fire service for approximately 50 years sharing so much with so many causes that stretch beyond providing insurance protection.
At our most recent board meeting, Art announced that he would be stepping down as a board member of CFSI -- a decision that's best for him but one that hit me like a baby swinging a hammer that hit me right in the gut.
Tonight, I'd like to publicly thank Art for his unwavering commitment to CFSI. He was one of the first—if not the first — to step forward and offer his support of the Institute in 1989 and has remained steadfast in helping me personally and CFSI continue to grow....The more I learned about Art -- his service to our country, his character, and his generosity — the more I looked up to him as a role model....For those of us fortunate to know Art, you can't help but feel a strong bond towards this man.
As Steve Austin once said, "When you're in a room with Art Glatfelter, you feel like you're in the presence of greatness."
If I were a fellow Marine, I'd say to you Art, Semper Fi. But instead, I'm that guy sitting on the curb waving a big placard that reads, "Thank you and God bless you Art Glatfelter."
Preparing America's Fire & Emergency Services for the Next Call
SEQUESTRATION: A Term Once Foreign to Many Is Now the Name Du Jour in Washington, DC
In 2011, Congress was at an impasse on raising the debt ceiling. In a move that many members of Congress now regret, they approved the Budget Control Act of 2011 which granted authority to raise the ceiling as long as Congress could agree on a concomitant level of cuts. The task fell on a Super Committee -- a 12-member panel -- to recommend $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next ten years. If the Committee failed (which it did), the legislation would trigger sequestration, an across the board cut to virtually every discretionary federal program. Congress had until the end of 2012 to act.
Congress did act. But rather than reaching agreement on the full $1.2 trillion in cuts, they came up with a temporary agreement that staved off sequestration for another three months. The clock is ticking with judgment day set for March 1. If Congress can't come to agreement on a deficit reduction plan, then sequestration will take effect and the results could cause major problems for Wall Street and Main Street.
Government agencies have been put on notice to develop plans for implementing the across the board cuts. This includes the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Fire Administration. Although the details of such plans are kept close to the chest, USFA is expected to take an eight percent cut if sequestration occurs.
With less than a month before the looming deadline, there is no sign that Congress and the Administration have reached any type of preliminary agreement to prevent the cuts. As we have become accustomed to witnessing, our elected leaders will most likely wait until the 11th hour to strike a deal - one that might kick the can further down the road or perhaps force them to strike some type of compromise.
Unfortunately, the term compromise has taken on a negative connotation in this town. There are few leaders willing to drive in the middle lane for fear of being broadsided by colleagues in either the left or right lanes. But compromise is imperative in order to resolve the fiscal problems that beset our nation.
The whole idea behind sequestration was to force Congress to address the debt. We do dumb things in Congress. This sequestration idea is the dumbest thing, said Senator Lindsay Graham. But as he and other members have stated, Congress created sequestration and now they have to deal with it. Let's just hope that they will before the March 1 deadline forces indiscriminate cuts that will severely undermine the ability to protect our homeland.
Consensus is the Key to Our Success
"Legislation has been put on the fast track." That's not a term Congress often uses anymore. These days with partisan politics deeply imbedded in our political systems, it's a small wonder that the wheels of government continue to spin.
We all know that Congress and the Obama Administration are being consumed by issues of monumental significance - the recession, health care legislation, the H1N1 epidemic and the war in Afghanistan. I certainly can't recall during my lifetime when so many issues of major consequence faced our nation. It is an extraordinary time to be working in Washington, DC and seeing how our elected leaders are navigating their ways through these turbulent waters.