Proposed Budget Includes Increase for USFA and Cuts to AFG and SAFER
This month, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Overall, the FY 2020 budget request included an 8.5 percent cut to nondefense discretionary spending and an increase in defense spending.
For FY 2020, there is a $576 billion cap on defense spending and a $542 billion spending cap on non-defense spending. The Trump Administration proposes $750 billion for defense spending, partly out of the Overseas Contingency Operations fund for military wartime operations and other emergency funds. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), State and Transportation received the steepest cuts, while the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security (DHS), Treasury and Veterans Affairs received increases.
Here’s how things look for fire service programs:
U.S. Fire Administration – $46.6 million, an increase of approximately $1 million
Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) Grant Program – $344.344 million, a decrease of $5.66 million
SAFER Grant Program – $344.344 million, a decrease of $5.66 million
Urban Areas Initiative – $426.461 million, a decrease of $213.54 million
State Homeland Security Grant Program – $331.939 million, a decrease of $193.1 million
Volunteer Fire Assistance – $11 million, a decrease of $6 million
The Administration’s budget request also would create a new $430.35 million National Priorities Security Grant program to fund a set of national priorities to address emerging natural hazards and evolving terrorism threats. The USFA’s State Fire Training Grants have been targeted for elimination. In addition, the President’s FY 2020 budget request does not include an authorization of the ALERT grants. The IAFC uses the ALERT grants to help train rural communities to respond to rail incidents involving hazardous materials.
The IAFC will be working with the other fire service organizations and our allies in Congress to protect the fire service programs from cuts. You are encouraged to attend the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25 and use the dinner as an opportunity to meet with Congressional staff on Capitol Hill that day to educate them about the importance of federal programs that support the fire and emergency service.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC's Director of Government Relations and Policy