(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Member Tom Kean (R-NJ) was joined by Congressional Fire Services Caucus co-chair Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to introduce a bipartisan bill that will support and advance firefighter and first responder services across the nation.
H.R. 4090, the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023, provides a five-year reauthorization for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) Program. The current program authorizations expire on September 30, 2023.
The bill’s cosponsors include House Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Collins (R-GA), Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Haley Stevens (D-MI), Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), and Congressional Fire Services Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Michael Bost (R-IL), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“Firefighters are our first responders to danger and the backbone of keeping our communities safe. As a former volunteer firefighter, I know the hardships and sacrifices firefighters make daily to quickly respond to emergencies,” said Congressman Kean. "I am proud to lead the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023, to ensure that our firefighters have the proper training and equipment to continue protecting our communities. This bill will reauthorize federal grants and programs for local fire departments which will help protect families in New Jersey and nationwide.”
“Since we created the program nearly a generation ago, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response have provided enormous resources to firefighters in every state in America,” said Congressman Pascrell, the co-chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and original sponsor of the original FIRE Act in March 1999. “Federal support of our firefighters is an essential element to giving our heroes the resources they need to stay safe and keep us protected. This bipartisan legislation also supports the work of the U.S. Fire Administration and will save countless lives. I thank my fellow Garden Stater, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Lofgren, and my Congressional Fire Services Caucus co-chairs for working as a team to stick up for America’s firefighters. If we can’t do that we can’t do anything.”
“The Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023 is a critical piece of bipartisan legislation that will support emergency responders across the country with the tools they need to best prepare, prevent, and mitigate fire-related incidents,” Chairman Lucas said. “This reauthorization is particularly important to our rural communities like those in my district in Oklahoma, as this funding provides up-to-date equipment and crucial training to fire departments and first responders who often cannot afford to modernize due to costly expenses. I want to thank my Science Committee colleagues, Congressional Fire Services Caucus co-chairs, and numerous external stakeholders for their critical feedback as we worked to draft this reauthorization. I look forward to its swift passage through the House.”
“The United States fire service plays a vital role in protecting the health and safety of our citizens and critical infrastructure,” said Ranking Member Lofgren. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, and I thank my colleagues for their leadership in this effort. As fire events, including climate-driven wildfires, continue to threaten communities and ecosystems, the U.S. is suffering from a shortage of first responders. We must continue to invest in research, training, and education for fire professionals, and ensure our fire service has the resources necessary to conduct their essential and life-saving work. This bill will help us achieve that.”