Sequestration Order Reduces FEMA State and Local Grant Funding

House passes bill to fund government and impose sequestration through FY 2013

A memo sent to FEMA Grantees on March 4 indicates that as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25), President Obama on March 1 signed an order enforcing annual spending limits that will result in a reduction of $104 million to FEMA’s State and Local grant funding in FY 2013, a cut of five percent from FY 2012. PL 112-25 requires across-the-board reductions for all federal discretionary spending accounts. The memo was sent by David J. Kaufman, Acting Assistant Administrator of FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are all funded through FEMA’s State and Local programs account. Funded at $337.5 million each in FY 2012, a five percent reduction would leave AFG and SAFER with $320.625 million, respectively, in FY 2013. USFA’s funding, meanwhile, would drop from $44.038 million to $41.84 million. It should be noted, however, that FEMA has not indicated how it will apply the $104 million rescission within the State and Local programs account and Congress has yet to enact FY 2013 appropriations, so at this point it is impossible to know what the exact funding levels for AFG, SAFER, and USFA will be.

On March 6, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 933, legislation funding the federal government through the end of FY 2013 at FY 2012 levels minus the across-the-board reductions established in PL 112-25. H.R. 933 adjusts funding levels for a handful of accounts, including for FEMA Salaries and Expenses and the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System. AFG, SAFER, and USFA funding levels are not specifically adjusted in the bill. Click here for the section of the H.R. 933 dealing with Department of Homeland Security funding. You can look up the full bill text of H.R. 933 at

H.R. 933 now goes to the Senate for consideration. The federal government is currently operating under the terms of a continuing resolution funding operations through March 27. New funding must be passed by that date to avoid a federal government shutdown.