UPDATED: The House Appropriations Committee is making its final changes to the 2014 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security today. Among other business, it passed an amendment by Rep. David Price that would allow communities to use some grant funds to keep firefighters on the job.
The bill includes $675 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. The money is used for equipment purchases and hiring. Price’s amendment allows the use of the funds for firefighter retention.
North Carolina communities received 10 SAFER grants worth more than $1.9 million last year.
Price is the top-ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee of Homeland Security, which is responsible for writing the DHS funding bill.
Price started his comments in the hearing today with sympathy for the people who suffered in the devastation of the Oklahoma tornado. “For me and others, as parents and grandparents, the loss of so many children at a school is truly heartbreaking. We must do all we can to help,’ he said.
Price said he generally supports the 2014 funding bill that the committee produced. He said one of its strong points was that it provides $6.22 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, enough to keep it fully funded.
The 2013 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security was passed in March. Price announced on Tuesday that North Carolina will receive $13.4 million in federal grant funding from DHS, $630,000 more than last year.