Early on Tuesday morning, the House and Senate Appropriations Committee released their Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2471).
The bill would cut both the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (also known as the “FIRE Grant”) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program by $10 million each from President Biden’s request of $370 million to $360 million for each program.
“I am alarmed that Congress would propose cutting the FIRE and SAFER grant programs. After two years on the front lines helping their citizens afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, fire and EMS agencies are in desperate need of funding to replenish staffing, equipment and training. The IAFC will work with our allies in Congress to protect these critical programs. I urge all IAFC members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to save the FIRE and SAFER grant programs,” said Chief Kenneth Stuebing, President and Board Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Overall, the bill would increase funding for many fire and EMS programs, including:
- U.S. Fire Administration - $53.2 million
- Urban Areas Security Initiative - $740 million
- State Homeland Security Grant Program - $645 million
- Volunteer Fire Assistance - $20 million
- SIREN Rural EMS Grants - $7.5 million
- National Firefighter Cancer Registry - $3 million
The bill also would allow the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to waive requirements to the FIRE and SAFER grant program, including the local cost-share requirement and maintenance of expenditure requirements.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations and Policy.