Obama Proposes Cuts to SAFER, AFG, USFA

The budget President Obama sent to Congress on Monday includes reductions for fire grant programs and the USFA.

Obama's spending plan calls for $335M each for SAFER and AFG in FY 2013. Last year, Congress approved $337.5M for each of those grant programs.

Also, the president proposes funding the USFA at $42,520,000 compared to $44,038,000 last year.

Wildland fire programs are expected to see increases.

There's also a move to consolidate several local and state grants which would be under the new National Preparedness Grant Program. Obama is requesting $1,540,908,000.00 for the program.

The FIRE Act grants and SAFER are not included in that merger proposal.

Other highlights of the spending plan include:

  • $27.513 million for the Urban Search and Rescue Response System; a $13.737 million reduction. 
  • The construction of a nationwide, wireless, public safety broadband network, including the allocation of the D Block to public safety, and $6.5 billion for the construction, operation and maintenance of the network.
  • $1.97 billion for Wildland Fire Management under the Department of Agriculture (a $233 million increase from FY 2012) and $726.5 million for Wildland Fire Management under the Department of Interior (a $160 million increase from FY 2012).
  • Fully funding the 10-year average cost of wildland fire suppression operations, and proposing $315 million for the FLAME fund under the Department of Agriculture and $92 million for the FLAME fund under the Department of Interior.
  • Targeting hazardous fuels reduction funding to activities in the wildland-urban interface with priority for projects in communities that have met “Firewise standards or the equivalent.”
  • Maintainance level funding for the State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs--$55.5 million and $6.366 million, respectively--and continuing Rural Fire Assistance as an eligible expense under Wildland Fire Management.

“The IAFC is working with Congress to protect funding for programs that support the fire service in this tight budget environment,” said Chief Al Gillespie, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board. “It is important that the federal government continues to focus funding on programs that will help the local fire department protect its citizens.”