On February 9, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, his final budget proposal. This proposed budget contains cuts to major fire and emergency service programs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It also would attempt to restructure the purpose of programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.
Here’s a list of the fire service programs at FEMA that would be cut:
- U.S. Fire Administration ($42.3 million) – The FY 2017 budget proposal would cut the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) by $1.7 million. These cuts include
- $1 million cut to the National Fire Incident Reporting System
- $1 million elimination of the State Fire Training Grants
- $418,000 elimination of support for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial
- The FIRE and SAFER grant programs ($335 million each) – The FY 2017 budget proposal would cut the FIRE and SAFER Grant programs each by $10 million. Both FIRE and SAFER grants would be classified as terrorism-preparedness grants, and a priority would be given to “applications that enhance capabilities for terrorism response and other major incidents.”
- State Homeland Security Grant Program ($200 million) – The FY 2017 budget proposal would cut the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) by more than half (a $267 million decrease).
- Urban Areas Security Initiative ($330 million) – The FY 2017 budget proposal would cut the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Grant program by $270 million (a 45% cut).
- Urban Search and Rescue System ($27.5 million) – The FY 2017 budget proposal also would cut funding for the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) System by $7.68 million (a greater-than 20% cut).
There’s some good news in President Obama’s FY 2017 budget proposal:
- It recommends maintaining $13 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) Volunteer Fire Assistance program.
- It would include increases of $65 million for the USFS Wildland Fire Management account for a total of $2.45 billion.
- It would also include an increase of $7.9 million for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Wildland Fire Management account for a total of $824.6 million.
Also, the president’s budget recommends extending the authorization for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) ALERT grants. These grants use unspent PHMSA hazmat-training grant funds to develop both web-based and in-person training for the response to rail incidents involving crude oil and other hazardous materials.
The IAFC is working with our allies on Capitol Hill to prevent cuts to the USFA and the USAR system and the FIRE, SAFER, UASI and SHSGP Grant programs. To keep track of developments in Washington and download materials before you meet with your members of Congress, please go to IAFC.org/GR.