The House of Representatives today introduced legislation fiercely supported by the IAFC to reauthorize the FIRE/SAFER grant program. The bill was introduced by U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Service Caucus, and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017 aims to make several improvements to the program, most significantly elimination of the sunset provision in order to keep the programs from expiring on January 2, 2018.
Here's a portion of the announcement from Capitol Hill:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Service Caucus, and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, announced introduction of the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017, which renews vital federal funding streams for local fire departments.
Each year more than one million fire and emergency services personnel respond to over 30 million emergency calls across the country. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that our over 30,000 fire departments continue to have access to the necessary training, equipment, and staffing to conduct emergency response missions and to continue to reduce community risk.
Specifically, this legislation would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program. Congressional authorization for these grants expires tomorrow and sunsets on January 2, 2018.
The measure is a companion to S.829, sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE), legislation the Senate passed on July 11, 2017 and now awaits action in the House. The bipartisan fire service co-chairs authored a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on August 11, 2017 asking the House to take up and pass the Senate bill.
This legislation has been endorsed by the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.