Proposed FY 2011 Budget Takes Aim at Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

Report by the Congressional Fire Services Institute

On Monday, February 1, 2010, the Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal, detailing requested funding levels for programs and offices in the federal budget. 

The approximately $3.8 trillion budget includes $45.6 billion for homeland security spending.  Although the proposal increases funding in some areas, it contains significant cuts to firefighter grant programs.  

The budget includes $305 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Although an increase from the $170 million contained in last year’s budget proposal, the figure falls short of the $390 million appropriated by Congress for the current fiscal year. The grant program, which received approximately $3.1 billion in requests in Fiscal Year 2009, provides funding for critical equipment, training, and apparatus directly to local fire departments. It also provides grants for fire prevention and safety programs and firefighter health and safety research.

The Administration also proposes $305 million for the SAFER grant program, a sharp decrease from the $420 million appropriated in FY2010. SAFER provides grants for hiring firefighters to help fire departments combat staffing shortages. The grants also enable volunteer fire departments to assist with recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighting personnel.    

The Administration has proposed funding the State Homeland Security Grant Program at $1.05 billion, an increase of $100 million over FY2010. The budget request also contains an increase of $223 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), bringing that program to a proposed funding level of $1.1 billion. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) receives a modest increase of approximately $342,000 over Fiscal Year 2010.

While the Administration’s budget proposal is meant to serve as a guideline for federal spending, it is important to note that Congress will ultimately determine funding levels for these programs. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will now begin work on crafting Fiscal Year 2011 spending bills. CFSI will continue to work with members of Congress on funding for these important programs and will continue to provide updates as the appropriations process moves forward. 

The Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Proposal can be obtained from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

 

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