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House Passes Build Back Better Act; Senate Action Still Required

Today, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) by a vote of 220-213. This bill must now be considered in the U.S. Senate. 

The bill includes many provisions that may affect the fire and emergency service: 

  • $500 million for Next Generation 9-1-1 deployment, including setting up a NG 9-1-1 Cybersecurity Center and Public Safety NG 9-1-1 Advisory Board. 

  • $95 million to AFG program to replace PFAS firefighting foam and equipment. 

  • $65 billion is available for public housing improvements, including addressing health, safety, and environmental hazards, including fire and carbon monoxide hazards. 

  • $150 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) State and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs to be split at Secretary’s discretion. 

  • $2 billion to USFS for grants to tribal, state, and local governments, regional organizations, special districts, or non-profit organizations to support on non-Federal land, forest restoration and resilience projects, including projects to reduce the risk of wildland fires and establish defensible space around structures within at-risk communities. 

  • $1 billion to USFS for grants to tribal, state, and local governments, regional organizations, special districts, or non-profit organizations to implement community wildfire protection plans, purchase firefighting equipment, provide firefighter training, and increase the capacity for planning, coordinating, and monitoring projects on non-federal land to protect at-risk communities. 

  • $250 million to USFS for grants to tribal, state, and local governments, regional organizations, special districts, or non-profit organizations for projects on on-federal land to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of burned forested areas, including reforestation. 

  • $10 billion for hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System land in the wildland urban interface (WUI). 

  • $4 billion for hazardous fuels reduction projects within the WUI that have been planned to protect at-risk communities on National Forest System land outside the WUI.  

  • $500 million to the U.S. Department of Interior for wildland firefighting by the Bureau of Land Management or National Park Service. 

  • The bill also includes a tax credit for 30 percent of a qualified wildland fire mitigation expenditures, such as removing accumulation of vegetation and building and maintaining fire breaks. These expenditures must be made consistent with a qualified State wildfire mitigation program. 

  • $2.86 billion for the World Trade Center Health Program. 

Unfortunately, the House removed $718 million for fire and EMS station construction and renovation when the bill was reduced from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. The cut in the overall funding for the bill also reduced funding for NG 9-1-1 deployment from $10 billion to $500 million. The IAFC will be working to restore these funding cuts in the Senate. 

 

 

Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations and Policy. 

 

 

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