Homeland Security: President Biden’s budget recommends increases to fire service programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.
Other programs, such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and Urban Areas Security Initiative would receive slight cuts. Here are the specific proposals:
- $370 million each for the AFG and SAFER grant programs
- $60.4 million for the U.S. Fire Administration, including more than $2 million for major construction upgrades to the National Fire Academy.
- $711.2 million for the Urban Areas Security Initiative.
- $616.2 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
- $80 million for a cyber grant program to help public and private entities protect themselves from cyberattacks.
- $355 million for the Emergency Management Performance Grants.
Wildland Fire Programs: President Biden’s budget recommends increases to address the nation’s growing wildland fire problem. The budget includes nearly $4.9 billion for the U.S. Forest Service’s wildland fire management programs, including more than $2.2 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildland Fire Operations Reserve Fund and more than $1 billion for USDA wildland fire suppression operations. The budget also proposes small cuts to the State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs, which are re-named National Fire Capacity and Rural Fire Capacity, respectively. The FY 2023 budget would expand the federal wildland firefighting workforce; and ensure that federal wages are no less than $15 per hour. The budget also recommends greater technological support for wildland fire detection and response, including FireGuard satellite imagery. Here are the specific proposals:
- $2.7 billion for the USDA Wildland Fire Management.
- $1.2 billion for the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) Wildland Fire Management.
- $19 million for Volunteer Fire Assistance/Rural Fire Capacity.
- $73.4 million for State Fire Assistance/National Fire Capacity.
- $2.2 billion for the USDA Wildland Fire Operations Reserve Fund.
- $340 million for the DOI Wildland Fire Operations Reserve Fund.
The budget also would include increases to the Pipeline Safety ($187.8 million) and Hazardous Materials Safety ($74.2 million) programs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The President’s FY 2023 budget also recommends $9.9 billion to build capacity and public health infrastructure at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health departments. It also recommends $40 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response for advanced development and manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for high priority threats.
Congress must now begin deliberations on a budget resolution for FY 2023 and start work on the individual appropriations bills. The IAFC will be working to ensure adequate funding for these fire service programs.