House Committees Move on AFG, SAFER, and USFA Reauthorization and Funding

On June 21, two committees in the House of Representatives passed legislation relating to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. The Committee on Science Space and Technology unanimously passed H.R. 4090, the House’s version of the USFA, AFG, and SAFER reauthorization bill, and the Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2024 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, which funds USFA, AFG, and SAFER, by a vote of 33 to 25.

S. 870, the Senate’s AFG, SAFER, and USFA reauthorization bill, passed the full Senate by a vote of 95 to 2 on April 20. This bill would reauthorize these programs through 2030 and extend the sunset for AFG and SAFER to 2032. H.R. 4090 would reauthorize AFG, SAFER, and USFA through 2028 and extend the sunset for AFG and SAFER to 2030. Both H.R. 4090 and S. 870 reauthorize AFG and SAFER at $750 million annually and reauthorize USFA at $95 million annually, an increase of approximately $19 million. However, H.R. 4090 removes the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase for the AFG/SAFER authorization levels. The NVFC strongly supports S. 870, but is neutral on H.R. 4090 since it removes the CPI increase for AFG and SAFER.

The DHS appropriations bill would provide $360 million each for AFG and SAFER. This is $10 million dollars less than the President’s budget request and the same amount of funding they received in FY 2023. The NVFC requested $405 million in FY 2024 funding for each of these programs. Additionally, this bill would provide $60.331 million for the USFA. This is the same amount of funds in the President’s budget request and the NVFC’s FY 2024 funding request, and an approximately $2 million increase over the funds USFA received in FY 2023.

The Senate has yet to release their FY 2024 DHS appropriations bill. It is not known yet if or when H.R. 4090 or the House DHS appropriations bill will be considered on the House floor. The NVFC will continue to monitor the progress of these bills and advocate for increased funding for USFA, AFG, and SAFER.