Tag: AFG

White House Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal

(May 25, 2017) – On Tuesday, the White House released President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal. The $4.1 trillion spending plan includes $44.1 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

The spending plan requests $688,688,000 for the Assistance to Firefighters and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant programs, split evenly between the two programs. This is a slight reduction from the $690 million Congress appropriated for the programs in the current fiscal year.  The budget proposal also requests $43,410,000 for the United States Fire Administration (USFA), with $1,497,000 of that request targeted for infrastructure improvements at USFA’s Emmitsburg, MD campus.  Congress appropriated $44 million for USFA in Fiscal Year 2017.

While these programs only saw slight reductions in the Administration’s budget, several other programs of importance to the nation’s fire and emergency services were recommended for much more severe cuts.  The spending plan only requests $27.513 million for the Urban Search and Rescue System, down from the $38.280 appropriated for Fiscal Year 2017.  

The State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) would both see a 25% cut if the President’s plan is enacted.  The Administration is also recommending a 25% non-federal match be implemented for the two grant programs.  The Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grant program, which provides matching funds to volunteer fire departments to purchase equipment and training for use in wildland fire suppression, would be reduced from $15 million to $11.6 million under the plan.  

“As the saying goes, the President proposes and the Congress disposes,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.  “Now that the White House has released its FY2018 budget proposal, we’ll turn our attention to Capitol Hill where we will advocate for sufficient funding levels for these programs.  With call volumes rising across the nation and heightened concerns about potential threats to our safety and security, this is not the time to cut programs that benefit our nation’s fire service.”  

The release of the White House budget proposal is only the first step in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget process.  Committees in both the House and the Senate have begun holding hearings to review the budget proposal, and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will now begin drafting funding bills for the individual departments of the federal government. CFSI will continue to provide updates throughout the Fiscal Year 2018 process.    

Senate Committee Approves AFG/SAFER Reauthorization

(May 17, 2017) – Today the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously approved S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act.  The legislation reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2023.  Additionally, the legislation removes a “sunset” provision in the current authorizing statute that would eliminate the programs on January 2, 2018.

S. 829 was introduced by Senator John McCain (AZ) and Senator Jon Tester (MT), both co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.  Senator Susan Collins (ME), chair of the Fire Caucus, and Senator Tom Carper, a fellow Fire Caucus co-chair, are original co-sponsors of the legislation.  S. 829 will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

Forging New Relationships: Fire Service Leaders from Across the Nation Attend CFSI Event to Deliver Important Messages on Capitol Hill

The Congressional Fire Services Institute took great pride in hosting the 29th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner Program on April 5th and 6th, in Washington, DC. Over 1,500 fire and emergency services leaders from across the country attended this year’s program, spending much of their time attending seminars and meetings with the members of Congress.

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Congress Approves Fiscal Year 2017 Spending Package

(May 4, 2017) – Congress has approved H.R. 244, an omnibus spending bill to fund programs and activities of the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.  As CFSI reported earlier this week, the bill funds the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs at the same levels as Fiscal Year 2016.  The bill also provided modest increases in funding for the Urban Search and Rescue Response System and the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program.  

The House approved the omnibus spending measure on Wednesday, May 3rd, clearing the way for the Senate’s approval of the bill on Thursday, May 4th.  The full text of H.R. 244 can be viewed here.

Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Spending Bill Released

(May 1, 2017) – In the early morning hours of Monday, May 1st, Congressional leaders introduced H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, a $1.07 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.  Currently, the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution, which expires on Friday, May 5th.  Congress will need to approve the omnibus spending measure before the Friday deadline to avoid a government shutdown.  

Included in the spending package is 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 $690 million, split evenly between the two programs.  The State Homeland Security Grant Program is funded at $467 million.  This is the same funding level Congress approved for these three programs in Fiscal Year 2016.  Additionally, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is funded at $44 million, the same level as the previous fiscal year.  

Several programs receive a slight increase in funding under the measure.  The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) is funded at $605 million, an increase of $5 million compared to Fiscal Year 2016.  The bill also provides $38,200,000 for the Urban Search and Rescue Response System (USAR), an increase of $3.1 million.  The Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program is funded at $15 million, an increase of $2 million from Fiscal Year 2016.  

“These figures contained in the omnibus measure affirm the importance of maintaining communications with our elected leaders,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.  “Our hope is that the House and Senate will move swiftly on final passage so that these funds can be appropriated to the aforementioned programs that continue providing support to our nation’s fire departments.  We appreciate the commitment the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as the leadership of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, have given to our nation’s first responders and we look forward to working with them as the complete work on funding the federal government for the current fiscal year and we turn our focus to the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bills.”  

The House could potentially vote on the omnibus spending package as earlier as Wednesday, May 3rd.  If approved, the measure would then be sent to the Senate.  CFSI will continue to provide updates throughout the appropriations process.