Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 23rd, Senator John McCain (AZ) introduced S. 1152, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) Reauthorization Act of 2003. The legislation authorizes appropriations for USFA through fiscal year 2006. The act also reestablishes the position of United States Fire Administrator. The U.S. Fire Administrator’s position was inadvertently eliminated when Congress passed the Homeland Security Act (PL 107-296; sec. 1513). Senator McCain and other congressional leaders, as well as Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, have recently voiced support for reestablishing the position.
Upon introducing the legislation Senator McCain said, “Firefighting remains one of the most dangerous professions in the Unites States. We rely on firefighters to aid us in fires, accidents, and natural disasters. However, we have also witnessed the role that firefighters play as the first responders on the scene of any possible terrorist attack. It is important that we pass this legislation to ensure that the federal government continues its appropriate role in helping our fire services adapt to this new challenge.”
The USFA Reauthorization Act is co-sponsored by Senator Ernest Hollings (SC) and Senator John Breaux (LA). The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Senator McCain currently chairs both the Senate Commerce Committee and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.