WASHINGTON — The U.S. House and Senate passed major legislation on Friday to improve programs that support the fire and emergency services. This legislation is included in the conference report to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310).
- Specifically, H.R. 4310 would:
- Reauthorize the FIRE and SAFER grant programs through FY 2017
- Reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) through FY 2017
- Make reforms to the Public Safety Officers Benefits program
- Authorize the transfer of up to 7 excess aircraft from the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for wildland fire fighting operations
Next, this legislation will be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
"This is a great day for the fire and emergency services," said Chief Hank Clemmensen, the International Association of Fire Chief's president and chairman of the board. "This legislation reassures Congressional support for the USFA and FIRE and SAFER grant programs. It also makes important reforms to the FIRE and SAFER grant programs, and the Public Safety Officers' Benefits program.
"Finally, the bill begins the process of increasing the U.S. Forest Service's aviation capabilities for wildland fire suppression operations. I would like to thank our supporters on Capitol Hill and the leadership of the other fire service organizations for working together to achieve these major accomplishments."