(June 15, 2016) – On June 9th, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security approved the draft Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The $47.8 billion spending bill contains $6.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is $432 million above the White House’s requested funding level.
Included in the bill is funding for a number of programs important to the nation’s fire service. The Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs are funded at $345 million each, the same level as the current fiscal year. The bill also provides $42.5 million for the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and an additional $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements at the agency’s Emmitsburg, Maryland campus. The Urban Search and Rescue System is funded at $36.28 million, and increase of $1.1 million over the current fiscal year.
On May 26th, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 3001, that chamber’s version of the FY17 Homeland Security spending measure. The Senate bill funds the FIRE/SAFER grant programs at a combined $680 million, $10 million less than the current fiscal year. USFA is funded at $44 million and the Urban Search and Rescue System is funded at $35.18 million, the same funding levels the current fiscal year.
Back on February 9th, the White House released its FY17 budget proposal and recommended reducing funding for the FIRE/SAFER grant programs by $20 million. The Administration also recommended reducing USFA’s funding level to approximately $42.3 million.
The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the draft spending bill on June 22nd.