This week, President Trump released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. This year’s budget process is confused, because Congress has yet to pass full-year appropriations for FY 2018. This FY 2019 budget proposal is the president’s recommendations for funding federal programs, but Congress sets the final appropriations levels for federal programs.
Overall, many fire service programs would be cut under the President’s proposed budget:
*This amount includes $1.5 million in the FEMA Procurement, Construction and Improvement account for capital improvements to the National Emergency Training Center.
** The Administration budget proposes transferring the VFA grants to the State and Private Forestry Account, and renaming the program as the “Rural Fire Capacity” grant program.
*** The Administration budget proposes moving the SFA grants to the State and Private Forestry Account, and renaming the SFA program as the “National Fire Capacity” grant program.
The President’s budget proposal also would include the following proposals:
- The creation of a $522 million, new, competitive, all-hazards preparedness grant program “that would require grantees to measure results in reducing preparedness capability gaps and would also require robust evaluation.”
- The consolidation of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) into National Institutes of Health. The World Trade Center Health Program would be moved from NIOSH to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not clear what this proposal means for the firefighter line-of-duty-death investigations or other firefighter safety programs.
The Administration proposes continuing the authorization for the ALERT grants.
The IAFC is concerned about these cuts to many important programs that help fire departments prepare for a variety of threats, including wildland fire response and anti-terrorism preparedness. This year, the IAFC will work with our allies in Washington to protect fire and emergency service programs, like FIRE, SAFER, USFA and the VFA program. Please be sure to come to DC on April 18 and 19, so that you can meet with your members of Congress personally about the importance of these programs and then stay for the 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC's director of Government Relations.