Fairfax, Va. – Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, IAFC president and chair of the board, testified today before a U.S. House of Representatives panel that the association is greatly concerned by the Administration’s draconian cuts to FEMA’s grant programs in the FY 2017 budget proposal.
Kerr testified before the House subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications of the Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan Donovan (N.Y.)
The hearing reviewed the cuts to homeland security grants proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request and the impact the cuts on would have on public safety’s ability to prevent, prepare for, protect against and respond to terrorist attacks.
Chief Kerr testified that the IAFC also opposes attempts to convert the AFG and SAFER grant programs into terrorism-preparedness programs.
“In the wake of an evolving terrorist threat, now is not the time to break a system that works,” Kerr said. “The American taxpayers have spent more than $40 billion since 9/11 on grant programs to improve the nation’s preparedness and response system. Overall, this funding has been spent wisely to make the nation safer.
“By using the State Homeland Security Grant and the UASI programs, state and local governments have been able to develop terrorism-preparedness capabilities that did not exist before 9/11,” Kerr said. “Local jurisdictions have used these grant funds to build and staff intelligence fusion centers, develop mass-casualty response units and construct regional interoperable-communications networks. We would not have had the funding for these projects without federal assistance.”
Read Kerr’s full testimony.
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