On May 16th, the House Appropriations Committee approved by voice-vote the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (bill number pending). The spending measure provides $39.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill includes $335 million for the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) Grant Program and $335 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program. This is a $2.5 million decrease for each program from the enacted Fiscal Year 2012 funding levels, and reflects the funding level the White House requested in the Administration’s FY13 budget proposal.
The bill also provides $42.46 million for the United States Fire Administration, a $1.57 million decrease from the FY12 enacted level and a $60,000 decrease below the Administration’s requested funding level.
The committee also approved by voice-vote an amendment to waive specific budgetary requirements to the SAFER program, allowing fire departments to continue to use the grant program to rehire and retain firefighters. The waiver amendment was sponsored by Congressman Tom Latham (IA-4), Congressman David Price (NC-4), Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-18).
On May 15th, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security approved its own version of the spending measure. The Senate bill (bill number pending), funds the FIRE and SAFER Grant Programs at $337.5 million each, the same as the FY12 enacted level. The bill also includes the waivers for the SAFER program and funds USFA at $44 million, the same level as FY12. The full committee will now consider the bill.