Fire grants safe in Trump budget

The proposed budget keeps fire grants at the 2016 level, but slashes other federal programs that aid fire and EMS

By Jerry Brant, FireRescue1 Columnist

WASHINGTON — The president released his proposed 2018 federal spending plan today. The document contains the largest cut to federal programs since the end of World War II.

The only departments to escape his budget ax are Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security and Defense, which will all see increases if the proposed budget is passed.

The Trump budget proposes no cuts to programs such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, SAFER or the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant program. These initiatives would be funded at their 2016 amounts.

Other programs that some fire and EMS agencies have accessed in the past to fund apparatus and equipment purchases or the construction or renovation of a new station do not appear to fare as well.

These include the Community Development Block Grant program under the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Community Facilities program under U.S. Department of Agriculture. Both programs would be eliminated under the Trump plan.

Under the Department of the Interior, there is one reference to the agencies wildland fire responsibilities. The document states, “Budgets responsibly for wildland fire suppression expenses. The budget would directly provide the full 10-year rolling average of suppression expenditures.”

The president’s budget is only a plan and not an actual budget. The nation’s annual budget is designed and approved by Congress.

In the past, some presidents have proposed cuts to firefighter programs, but Congress has never gone along with those recommendations. We will continue to update you as additional information becomes available.

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