On June 26, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill (S. 2534). This legislation would fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security beginning October 1; it includes programs like the U.S. Fire Administration and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the legislation (H.R. 4903) on June 11.
The Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill is similar to the House bill. The chart below summarizes the funding levels for fire service programs in the House and Senate bills and how they compare to the funding levels for FY 2013 and FY 2014:
in millions ($)
| ||FY 2013 |
|FY 2014 ||FY 2015 |
|FY 2015 |
|FY 2015 |
|U.S. Fire Administration ||42 ||44 ||41.407 ||44 ||44 |
|FIRE Grant Program ||320 ||340 ||335 ||340 ||340 |
|SAFER Grant Program ||320 ||340 ||335 ||340 ||340 |
|UASI ||475 ||600 ||* ||600 ||600 |
|SHSGP ||329 ||466.3 ||* ||466.3 ||467 |
|US&R ||33 ||35.18 ||27.51 ||27.51 ||35.18 |
|Office of Health Affairs ||124 ||126.76 ||125.77 ||127.96 ||124.62 |
*The Administration proposes consolidating SHSGP and UASI into its National Preparedness Grant program.
Much like the House bill, the Senate bill would extend the waivers to the requirements for the SAFER Grant program for a final year to allow fire departments to continue to retain and rehire firefighters. The bill also includes an IAFC-supported amendment by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) to allow states that receive Fire Management Assistance Grants also to receive assistance under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The House has not yet scheduled floor consideration of its FY 2015 DHS Appropriations bill. Consideration of the Senate bill may also be delayed due to a controversy between Senate Democrats and Republicans about amendments.
IAFC members are encouraged to contact their members in support of the funding levels for the FIRE, SAFER, USFA, UASI, SHSGP and US&R programs in the Senate bill.