The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Department of Homeland Security spending bill by voice vote. The House Appropriations Committee passed a similar version of the bill, H.R. 4903, on June 12th.
Both the Senate and House bills fund the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE) grant program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program at $340 million each. This is the same amount the programs were funded at in Fiscal Year 2014 and $10 million above the White House’s proposed funding level.
Both bills also continue to fund the United States Fire Administration (USFA) at the current level of $44 million. The White House had requested $41.407 million for the agency.
The Senate bill provides $35.18 million for the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System, the same amount appropriated in the current fiscal year. Unfortunately the House bill only funds the US&R system at $27.513 million, the same amount requested by the White House for FY15.
The House and Senate are scheduled to be in recess the week of June 30th for the Fourth of July holiday. When Congress reconvenes the following week, there are only a limited number of legislative days on the calendar before the month-long August recess. While both the House and Senate appropriators have expressed their desire to move all 12 appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year, there is no indication when the DHS bill will come to either the House or Senate floor. CFSI will continue to provide updates throughout the appropriations process.