Members of Congress Call for the Inclusion of AFG, SAFER, and USFA Reauthorization in Defense Bill
December 5, 2023
On November 22, 71 Members of Congress sent a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries requesting that the Fire Grants and Safety Act (H.R.4090/S.870) be included in the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Fire Grants and Safety Act would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). This bi-partisan letter was strongly supported by the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and other national fire service organizations.
The authorizations for AFG, SAFER, and USFA lapsed on September 30. If no action is taken, AFG and SAFER will cease to exist on September 30, 2024. This letter is a part of a broader effort by the NVFC and other national fire service organizations to urge Congress to pass the reauthorizations of AFG, SAFER, and USFA via any legislative package they can be added to, since there may be timing and procedural obstacles to having them considered on their own. The NDAA is one of those “must-pass” legislative packages that could be a vehicle for the reauthorizations to be signed into law.
The letter explained the vital role AFG, SAFER, and USFA play in ensuring that the nation’s fire service has enough personnel, training, and equipment to meet a baseline level of readiness. The letter also explained how there is precedent for these reauthorizations being included in the NDAA. The AFG program was created as part of the FY 2001 NDAA (P.L. 106-398), and the SAFER program was created by the FY 2004 NDAA (P.L. 108-136). AFG was reauthorized as part of the NDAA in FY 2005 (P.L. 108-375) and FY 2013 (P.L. 112- 239). The SAFER program and USFA were also reauthorized as part of the FY 2013 NDAA.
Read the letter here. If you see the signature of your Member of Congress on this letter, please reach out and thank them. If you do not see the signature of your Member of Congress, please reach out and ask them to support the reauthorization of AFG, SAFER, and USFA. You can use the NVFC’s Action Alert to quickly and easily send a letter. The NVFC will continue to push for these programs to be reauthorized as soon as possible.