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SAFER, AFG, Fire Administration Reauthorization back in the Senate

The United States Capitol building against a blue sky with scattered clouds.

Legislation to reauthorize key federal support programs for the nation’s fire and ambulance services has been sent back to the Senate for what could be its final hurdle before clearing Capitol Hill.

S. 870 (Peters), the Fire Grants and Safety Act, would re-authorize the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and the U.S. Fire Administration. The bill amended in the House replacing its provisions with that of the House version of the bill.

As amended and awaiting action in the Senate, S. 870 would reauthorize and hold the base funding caps for AFG and SAFER at $750 million annually through 2028. On the flipside, the U.S. Fire Administration, including research and academic programs for the nation’s emergency services, would see a 24 percent increase in its annual funding limit to $95 million, also though 2028. All three federal programs would be sunset in 2030 under the bill’s amended version.

The House voted to pass the amended S. 870, 393-13-1, more than a year after the Senate first passed the bill. Compared to the original Senate-passed version, the amended version reduces the authorization and sunset period by two years, removes a provision prohibiting program funding from flowing to Chinese entities, and adds language requiring a Government Accountability Office report to Congress highlighting difficulties fire department experience in accessing federal funding. Aside from this and unrelated to emergency services, the House also amended the bill to add a division regarding nuclear energy policy.

NAEFO Members are encouraged to call their members of the U.S. Senate to encourage their support – one last time – for S. 870, the Fire Grants and Safety Act, to ensure critical supports for fire and ambulance services are upheld.

Click here to take action: call your U.S. Senators and use NAEFO talking points to complete your advocacy.

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