On Wednesday, January 15th, the House approved H.R. 3547, the Fiscal Year 2014 omnibus spending bill. The $1.1 trillion spending package funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.
Included in the bill are funds for several programs of importance to the nation’s fire and emergency services. The Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) Grant Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program are each funded at $340 million in the bill. This is an increase of $2.5 million for each program over the Fiscal Year 2013 level. The bill also funds the United States Fire Administration (USFA) at $44 million, the same level as in Fiscal Year 2013, and rejects a proposal by the Administration to transfer the State Fire Training Assistance Grant from USFA to the FIRE Grant Program. The Urban Search and Rescue System is funded at $35.18 million in the spending measure, also the same amount the program received in Fiscal Year 2013.
“The willingness of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to maintain funding for these important programs, and in the case of FIRE and SAFER grants increase funding, shows the commitment of our Congressional allies to America’s firefighter,” said Bill Webb, CFSI’s Executive Director. “Because of the collective efforts of the nation’s fire and emergency services organizations, these programs continue to be successful and provide our first responders with the resources they need.”
Currently the federal government is operating on a continuing resolution (CR) which funds the government through January 18th. The omnibus spending bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved before the CR expires. CFSI will continue to provide updates throughout the budget process.