Issue 4 and Volume 159.

President Bush submitted his budget request for 2007, and in it he asks for $293 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. This is almost 50 percent less than last year. This continued senseless reduction is completely unacceptable. Congress appropriated $545 million for 2007; that amount also is unacceptable. We will not be satisfied this year unless we get the $1 billion promised by Congress in 2004. Since 2004, we have seen reduction after reduction of this highly effective and extremely well-managed program. I am not saying the AFG program is perfect; there is always room for improvement. However, it is the best instrument yet for getting money to firefighters for what we really need. In the President’s budget request, SAFER-an innovative program that provides financial support to hire and retain firefighters-is not funded at all. That’s right, zero. The U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program is…

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