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Bitter experience has shown that anything can happen in the Senate. That's where the police organizations worked behind the scenes to have ODP - a former Justice Department agency - taken out of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate and placed in Border and Transportation Security, along with most of the grant money. Homeland Security didn't like it, but has given up on getting Congress to put ODP back where it belongs. They're willing to have the FIRE Act remain a separate program, but want it controlled by ODP so that all first responder grants are administered in the same place and the same way.
I've often been told that the cops get what they want because they speak with one voice. That's something for the fire organizations to bear in mind as they lobby the Senate to keep the FIRE Act intact. If the firefighters stand united, they've got a good chance to win; if there's any sign of division in their ranks, they are sure to lose.
Hal Bruno, a Firehouse® contributing editor, retired as political director for ABC News in Washington and served almost 40 years as a volunteer firefighter. He is a director of the Chevy Chase, MD, Fire Department and chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.