Fairfax, Va. - Today, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to fund the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2016. This massive legislation (H.R. 2029) included funding for a number of fire service programs. Following are some of the highlights.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is reauthorized:
- The World Trade Center Health Program authorized is extended until 2090 (basically a permanent reauthorization).
- The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund is re-opened for an additional five years with $4.6 billion allocated to fund the program.
Critical fire service programs are funded:
- Funding for the FIRE and SAFER grant programs are increased to $345 million each.
- Funding for the U.S. Fire Administration is maintained at $44 million.
- Funding for the Urban Search and Rescue System is maintained at $35.18 million.
- Funding for the Volunteer Fire Assistance program is maintained at $13 million.
- ALERT grants at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to train first responders for rail incidents involving hazmat and crude oil shipments were reauthorized.
- Funding for the State Homeland Security Grant Program is maintained at $467 million.
- Funding for the Urban Areas Security Initiative is maintained at $600 million.
- These funds would be limited to urban areas representing 85% of risk.
The Cadillac Tax created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be delayed for two years, until 2020.
“This omnibus appropriations bill has a number of important accomplishments for the fire and emergency service,” said Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, the IAFC’s president and chair of the board. “I thank the IAFC membership and our friends on Capitol Hill for their dedicated advocacy on behalf of America’s fire and emergency service this year.”
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more