Current Legislation

FAQs

Click here to learn how to find and contact your member of Congress.

See the video and flowchart below for a high-level overview of the process.

Click here to read an in-depth description of the process.

Process Overview

CRS: The Legislative Process

Click here to see the status of the 12 appropriations bills for the current fiscal year. 

In general, an authorization creates an agency, program, or activity, which may then be funded with appropriations. 

Click here to learn more about these two processes.

117th Congress: Policy Issues and Legislation

Appropriations

CFSI supports funding for programs and agencies that are vital to the fire and emergency services.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) programs are imperative to addressing the needs of more than one million fire and emergency services personnel, while providing an economic stimulus to American businesses. 

Every community relies on firefighters to respond to a variety of emergency situations, including structure fires, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, technical rescues, and wildland/urban interface fires.  

Both the AFG and SAFER grant programs improve the response capabilities in each of these emergency response areas and provide funding for crucial fire prevention and safety programs targeted toward high-risk populations.

These two highly successful programs help ensure that our nation’s fire departments have the necessary training, equipment, and staffing to respond to tens of millions of emergency calls annually. 

USFA plays an important role at the national level, ensuring that the fire service is prepared to respond to all hazards. 

Each year, USFA provides training to approximately 100,000 fire and emergency service personnel through the National Fire Academy (NFA).  

USFA also collects important data and conducts research to reduce the threat of fire and other dangers in local communities.  

Over the past decade, USFA’s budget has remained relatively stagnant and well below the authorized level of approximately $76.5 million per year through FY2023.

Established in 1989, US&R is a framework to help organize federal, state, and local emergency response teams.

US&R has 28 task forces that can be sent by FEMA ahead of a disaster, or deployed after disaster strikes.

As the nation’s only self-sufficient, all-hazards, ready-response force, US&R is essential to our nation’s homeland security.

Unfortunately, recent appropriations have only covered a portion of the necessary costs, leaving local governments responsible for filling the gap and, thus, impairing local public safety.

Studies have indicated a strong link between firefighting and an increased risk of several major cancers.  

However, certain studies have been limited by lack of availability of important data and relatively small sample sizes that have an underrepresentation of women, minorities, and volunteer firefighters.

During the 115th Congress, both the House and Senate unanimously approved the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (P.L. 115-194).  

The National Firefighter Registry is an important resource to better understand the link between firefighting and cancer, potentially leading to better prevention and safety protocols.

America’s forests and forest-dependent communities are at risk from outbreaks of pests and pathogens, persistent drought, and the buildup of hazardous fuels. 

Urbanization and development patterns are placing more homes and communities near fire-prone landscapes, leading to more destructive and costly wildland fires, like those that burned more than 8 million acres in 2018 alone.

The State Fire Assistance (SFA) and Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) programs help decrease total federal emergency wildland fire suppression costs and reduce the threat of fire to people, communities, and both public and private lands.

COVID-19

CFSI strongly advocates for the support, supplies, and equipment that fire departments and EMS agencies need to respond safely and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Background: Fire and EMS personnel come into direct contact with COVID-19-infected individuals in the course of their daily job requirements. This can be in the context of calls where COVID is known, as well as unrelated calls. 

Ask: Fire and EMS personnel must be considered in the highest-priority tier for vaccination.

Background: Fire and EMS personnel come into direct contact with COVID-19-infected individuals in the course of their daily job requirements. This can be in the context of calls where COVID is known, as well as unrelated calls.

Ask: Fire departments and EMS agencies must have access to much-needed PPE. 

Background: Limited access to testing has enabled fire service personnel who are asymptomatic but have the virus to continue working, while delays in test results have led to longer-than-necessary quarantines for many other fire and emergency services personnel who do not have the virus. 

Ask: Fire departments and EMS agencies must have prioritized access to testing for COVID-19—especially rapid testing.

Background

Funding Concerns: Due to the pandemic and the associated economic downturn, fire department funding is down across a myriad of revenue streams, including funds from states and localities, local fundraising efforts, and more. Conversely, the pandemic has increased the need for fire and emergency services. Should financial shortfalls continue, services to communities may be impacted. 

Staffing Concerns: The pandemic has negatively affected recruitment and training of new firefighters, as well as retention of existing firefighters, compounding recruitment and retention issues that the fire and emergency services were already facing pre-pandemic.

While fire departments and EMS agencies may derive funding from a variety of sources, the AFG and SAFER grant programs provide funding directly to departments in need, without burdensome intermediaries. 

Ask: The AFG and SAFER programs should receive increased funding in FY2022 to help departments address staffing and equipment needs.

Fire and Life Safety

CFSI supports initiatives to improve the safety of civilians and firefighters alike, including supporting widespread use of devices that can prevent, detect, and/or suppress harmful threats such as fire and carbon monoxide. 

Health

CFSI supports initiatives to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of fire and emergency services personnel. 

Tax and Retirement

CFSI supports tax and retirement proposals that are of assistance to the fire and emergency services.