Senate Bill 4882: Funding for the Future
By Ann Cavanaugh
Senior Grants Writer, Fire Grants Aid
Quietly and without media fanfare, Senate Bill 4882 was read twice on the floor of the US Senate on September 19 and sent to committee. This simple bill, introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (D-Ohio), means funding for the Firefighters Assistance Grants the programs could continue over the next decade.
“Fire stations across the country rely on federal resources to keep firefighters safe. These heroes – who put their lives on the line every day – deserve our unwavering support,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. “By reauthorizing these critical programs, this bipartisan legislation will ensure fire departments in Michigan and across the country have the information and tools they need to protect our communities and firefighters in the line of duty. .”
Senior Committee member Senator Portman added, “Firefighters across Ohio and across our country risk their lives every day to protect and serve us all. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that our nation’s fire and emergency medical services have access to much-needed federal grants and resources to better prepare for and respond to emergency medical services and fire hazards.
These critical fire service funding programs were due to expire in 2023, under the sunset clause of the Fire Prevention and Control Act 1974. With the passage of SB 4882, this 1974 legislation is amended and the AFG will be extended through 2030. In addition, the National Fire Academy is fully funded for the same period, increasing to $95 million per year , a substantial increase from the $76.5 million in previous years.
The bill has been approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and will then go to the Senate for debate.
The bill also added two cosponsors to the committee, Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), indicating a likely favorable bipartisan reception on the floor of the entire Senate.
The goal is to pass both houses and have this bill on the president’s desk for signature by the end of the calendar year.
The Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 was the government’s response to the seminal “America Burning” report, published in 1972. It was passed by the 93rd Congress and signed into law by President Gerald Ford. This report detailed the extent of the fire problem in the United States, including the death toll and billions of dollars in damage resulting from fires each year in America. The Fire Act was changed after 9/11e attacks to include Firefighter Assistance Grants, Fire Prevention and Safety Grants, and Fire and Emergency Response Staffing Grants (SAFER).