AFG, SAFER, USFA Reauthorization Bill Signed Into Law

On July 9, 2024, President Biden signed into law the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S.870). After two years of advocacy by CFSI and our National Advisory Committee members, the AFG and SAFER grant programs will continue to be able to deliver vital federal support to fire departments across the nation and enable them to address their baseline needs. Specifically, this bill:

  • Reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs through fiscal year 2028,
  • Reauthorizes the U.S. Fire Administration through fiscal year 2028, and
  • Extends the sunset date for AFG and SAFER to September 30, 2030.

The path to reauthorization adds new meaning to the quote, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Working together, CFSI, our National Advisory Committee members, leaders of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and committees of jurisdiction, and other members of Congress built support for the legislation, which is why the measure achieved strong bipartisan support in both chambers.

Members of the fire and emergency services had the opportunity to go up to Capitol Hill during the CFSI 2024 event.

While the legislative path for a bill to become a law can appear relatively straightforward, it is never smooth and requires constant, sustained, and coordinated effort. In this instance, the fire service remained persistent, staying the course and never relenting until the bill became law. The collaboration between the national organizations and many members of Congress cannot be understated and was essential in moving this bill forward, despite a series of hurdles.

Credit for passage extends to a large group of congressional leaders, including the following:

Congressional Fire Services Caucus Co-Chairs who demonstrate their strong support for the fire and emergency services every day and played vital roles in supporting this legislation:

  • Senator Susan Collins* – Lead Republican on the Senate version of the Fire Grants and Safety Act
  • Senator Tom Carper* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act and a negotiator on the bill
  • Senator Jon Tester* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act and Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus in the 118th Congress
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act
  • Congressman Bill Pascrell* – Lead Democrat on the House version of the Fire Grants and Safety Act
  • Congressman Steny Hoyer* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act
  • Congressman Mike Bost* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act
  • Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick* – original cosponsor of the Fire Grants and Safety Act

House and Senate Leadership:

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer*
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell*
  • Speaker of the House Mike Johnson*
  • House Majority Leader Steve Scalise*
  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries

Committee Leadership who were original cosponsors of the bill and ensured that the legislation was able to successfully move through the House and Senate committee processes:

  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters*
  • House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Frank Lucas*
  • House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren*

Lead sponsor of the House version of the Fire Grants and Safety Act:

  • Congressman Tom Kean*

* indicates that the member is part of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus

Additionally, CFSI would like to offer a special thanks to the staff of the above offices who understand the needs and challenges of America’s fire and emergency services and worked hard every day (and many nights) to move this legislation forward.

Finally, CFSI would like to thank those members of Congress who supported and voted for the bill during the committee and floor processes. We appreciate your understanding of the need to support America’s fire and EMS personnel.

Next Steps

CFSI will continue to work to support robust funding for these programs and USFA. Most recently, CFSI worked with Reps. Bill Pascrell, Mike Bost, and Brian Fitzpatrick – House co-chairs of the Fire Caucus – to add $7.5 million to the AFG and SAFER funding lines in the House FY2025 DHS Appropriations Bill. This amendment was accepted and the bill passed the House at the end of June. We will continue to advocate for funding for these programs and USFA as the FY25 process moves forward.