Congressional Fire Services Institute on What White House’s FY 2013 Budget Plan Means for Firefighters

On Monday, February 13th, the White House released President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) Budget Proposal. The budget proposal details the Administration’s requested funding levels for programs and offices in the federal government for Fiscal Year 2013. The approximately $3.8 trillion budget includes $39.5 billion for homeland security spending, a decrease of 0.5 percent below the enacted Fiscal Year 2012 level.
 
The Administration’s budget proposal recommends slight reductions to the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) Grant Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program. The Administration is requesting $335 million for FIRE grants and $335 million for SAFER grants in FY13. Congress appropriated $337.5 million for each program in FY12. In addition, the Administration has proposed decreasing the budget for the United States Fire Administration (USFA) to $42,520,000. USFA was funded at $44,038,000 in Fiscal Year 2012.
 
Under the Administration’s budget proposal, several grant programs (including the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program) are consolidated as part of the new National Preparedness Grant Program. The Administration is requesting $1,540,908,000.00 for the program. Fire service grants (FIRE and SAFER) and the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) are not included in this proposed consolidation.
 
“Now that the Administration has released its proposal, the attention will now turns towards Capitol Hill” said Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) Executive Director Bill Webb. “CFSI will be delivering a message in the months ahead to our lawmakers about the importance of the United States Fire Administration and the two grant programs to our nation’s fire service to ensure that they are properly funded.”
 
While the Administration’s budget proposal is meant to serve as a guideline for federal spending, Congress will ultimately determine funding levels for these programs. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will now begin work on crafting Fiscal Year 2013 spending bills. CFSI will continue to provide updates throughout the appropriations process.

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