Congress reauthorizes USFA, approves DHS spending bill

Issue 12 and Volume 161.

The House of Representatives approved H.R. 2638, the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, in September. The bill provides Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veteran Affairs, according to the Congressional Fire Services Institute. In addition, it contains a continuing resolution to fund all other government agencies and activities through March 6, 2009, or until enactment of regular appropriations bills. The bill increases funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (FIRE Act) ($565 million) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program ($210 million). Funding for FY2008 was $560 million and $190 million, respectively. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) funding was increased $45 million; some funds were targeted specifically for modernizing the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and maintaining the National Fire Academy (NFA). President Bush signed the legislation on…

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