The budget and appropriations cycle for fiscal year (FY) 2021 kicked off in earnest yesterday when President Trump released his recommendations for government spending. Known as the President’s Budget Request (PBR), the documents contain the President’s suggested funding levels for various agencies and programs.
Recommendations for a few items of interest to the fire service are as follows:
- AFG/SAFER: The PBR recommended $344.3 million for both AFG and SAFER, a decrease from the FY2020 level of $355 million.
- Urban Search and Rescue: The PBR recommended 37.832 million, the same as the FY2020 level.
- U.S. Fire Administration: The PBR recommended $49.7 million, an increase from the FY2020 level of $46.8 million.
What Does the President’s Budget Mean?
While the PBR contains the Executive Branch’s recommendations for funding levels, Congress does not often follow these suggestions. The House and Senate may take into account a few specific recommendations for certain programs or agencies, but Congress typically follows its own priorities when writing the current year’s appropriations bills.
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold hearings where agency and program representatives testify on the performance of various initiatives. Members of Congress can also use these hearings to question agency officials on programs of interest to their states and districts. Information gleaned from these hearings may be taken into account when the committees consider the funding levels for various programs and agencies in the actual appropriations bills. These hearings have already started in the House.
Ultimately, Congress needs to approve 12 appropriation measures before the current fiscal year comes to a close in September. Throughout the appropriations process, CFSI will provide updates on FY2021 funding for programs that benefit our nation’s fire service.