House OKs Amendment to Maintain AFG, SAFER

The House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon approved an amendment to fund the FIRE and SAFER grants to the same level as in FY '10.

The vote on the amendment introduced by Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr, D-NJ, was 317-113.

The full House now must vote on the measure. If approved, it will move on to the Senate for a vote.

"Granted Congress is facing mounting pressure to address the budget deficit, but the proposed reductions for FIRE and SAFER would have a far-reaching impact on the readiness and response capabilities of our nation's 32,000 fire departments," CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb said in a prepared statement.

He added that the programs play an important role in homeland security.

"While we must address the economic crisis currently facing our nation, we must not do so at the expense of public safety."

Fire service leaders also are monitoring measures to keep the SAFER waivers intact.

On Monday, President Obama released his spending plan for FY '12. It calls for an increase in SAFER grants, but cuts to the AFG program as well as the U.S. Fire Administration.

His proposal sets aside $420M for SAFER; $250M for AFG and $42M for the USFA.