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House Restores Funding to FIRE and SAFER Grant Programs

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2017,  the Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which would appropriate $40.6 billion in discretionary spending for the DHS and its programs.

During the two-day consideration of the bill, the House voted to pass a number of amendments supported by the IAFC.

  • Restoring $320 million to the FIRE and SAFER grant programs. This amendment, offered by Representatives Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), restored $320 million to the FIRE and SAFER grant programs.  After passage of the amendment, the FIRE and SAFER grant programs would be funded at $335 million each.
  • Removing the Limit on Cities Eligible for the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Grants. This amendment, offered by Representatives Hansen Clarke (D-MI), Brian Higgins (D-NY), and Dave Reichert (R-WA), removed the provision in H.R. 2017 that would have limited the number of cities eligible for UASI grants to the ten highest-risk cities. This amendment will ensure that all UASI cities are eligible for the funding.
  • Extending the SAFER Waivers Through FY 2012. This amendment, offered by Representative David Price (D-NC), extended the waivers to requirements for the SAFER grant programs through FY 2012.  It will allow fire departments to use the SAFER grants to re-hire and retain firefighters.

“I would like to thank every IAFC member who called their Representative over the past two days,” said Chief Jack Parow, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board.  “Your efforts, combined with the work of our allies on Capitol Hill, addressed major problems in this legislation.  I would encourage you to use next week’s House recess to meet with your Representatives at home, thank them for their support, and urge them to protect funding for our programs and pass the D Block legislation this year.”

The Senate must now consider its own FY 2012 DHS Appropriations bill later this summer.  Then, the House-passed and Senate-passed bills must be reconciled and sent to President Obama for signature by the beginning of the FY 2012 fiscal year on October 1. 

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