Lennard G. Kruger Specialist in Science and Technology Policy
The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the
National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s
loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and
non-fatal injury due to fire.
P.L. 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY2012, provided $44.038
million for USFA in FY2012. The FY2013 budget proposal requested $42.52
million for USFA, a 3.4% reduction from the FY2012 level. Of the requested
total appropriation, $13.327 million would be allocated to the National
Fire Academy. On May 16, 2012, The House Appropriations Committee approved its
version of the FY2013 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R.
5855). The Committee recommended $42.46 million for USFA, which is $60,000
below the Administration request and $1.578 million below the FY2012 level
(a 3.6% reduction). On May 22, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee
approved $44.020 million for USFA for FY2013 (S. 3216). The Senate mark is
$1.5 million above the Administration request. The Continuing Appropriations Resolution,
2013 (P.L. 112-175) funds the USFA through the first six months of FY2013 at an increase
of 0.612% of the FY2012 level. Therefore, under the FY2013 continuing
resolution, AFG is funded at $44.307 million.
The latest authorization of the USFA expired on September 30, 2012. On November
29, 2012, the Senate adopted, by unanimous consent, USFA reauthorization
language as part of an amendment to S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense
Authorization Act. On December 4, 2012, the Senate passed S. 3254 by a
98-0 vote. The Senate-passed defense authorization bill is going to conference
with the House defense authorization bill, H.R. 4130. H.R. 4130, as passed by
the House, does not contain the USFA reauthorization provision.
S. 3254, as passed by the Senate, would reauthorize USFA at a level of
$76,490,890 for FY2013 through FY2017 (with $2.7 million set aside each
year for technology and standards development); authorize the USFA
Administrator to appoint a Deputy Administrator; authorize the
Administrator to take such steps as the Administrator considers appropriate to
educate the public and overcome public indifference as to fire, fire
prevention, and individual preparedness; and remove the limitation on
funding levels for updating the National Fire Incident Reporting System.
As is the case with many federal programs, concerns in the 113th Congress over the federal
budget deficit could impact future funding levels for the USFA. Debate
over the USFA budget has focused on whether the USFA is receiving an
appropriate level of funding to accomplish its mission, given that
appropriations for USFA have consistently been well below the agency’s authorized
level. An ongoing issue is the viability and status of the USFA and National
Fire Academy within the Department of Homeland Security. .
Date of Report: December 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 10 Order Number: RS20071 Price: $29.95
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