Congress Approves Fiscal Year 2019 Spending Bill
On Thursday, February 14th, the Senate and House both approved H.J. Res. 31, the Consolidated Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Act. The $333 billion spending package, which combines seven Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills, includes funding for several programs of significance to the nation’s fire and emergency services.
The Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs are funded at $700 million, split evenly between the two programs. This is the same level of funding Congress appropriated in Fiscal Year 2018. Additionally, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is funded at $44.179 million, with an additional $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements at the National Fire Academy. This is a sizable increase from the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) funding level of $42.9 million.
Several other programs received increased funding under the measure as well. The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) is funded at $640 million, an increase of $10 million over FY18 funding. The bill also provides $525 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, an increase of $18 million. The Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program is funded at $17 million and the State Fire Assistance program is funded at $81 million, increases of $1 million each. The Urban Area Search and Rescue System is funded at $45.18 million, an increase of $10.15 million.
The spending bill will now be sent to the President.