On Tuesday, March 4, President Obama released his FY 2015 budget proposal which calls for funding of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and SAFER (hiring) programs at a total of $670 million ($335 million for each program).  For FY 2014 (current year), Congress funded each program at $340 million.  Still, in this extremely tight budgetary environment, the Administration's numbers for AFG and SAFER are good news.

The President's budget also proposed funding of the United States Fire Administration at $41.4 million ($44 million enacted in FY 2014) and the Emergency Management Preparedness Grants at $350 million, same as current year.  However The President proposed a significant cut in the Urban Search and Rescue program, proposing only $27.5 million, whereas Congress enacted $35.18 million in FY 2014.

The President again proposed that all other state and local grant programs be folded into one, major National Preparedness Grant program, which would be competitively awarded.  Congress in the past has rejected this idea and kept separate programs such as the UASI and State block grant programs.

Because Congress has already agreed to an overall discretionary budget number for FY 2015 as part of the budget agreement last Fall, we anticipate that the House Appropriations Subcommittees will develop their appropriations bills this spring, earlier than in previous years.

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