Please Read and Pass on.. _____ Your Help is needed.... We need to stand together and let the President know that these funds have done a lot of good, He many not be getting all the information he needs to make judgment on this. This one project has benefited so many small departments and has given new hope to these small, under funded departments. I know a lot of people do not realize what the small Volunteer Department is or how they struggle to survive. Let President Bush know that this money is important and has done massive good for the fire service. Seventy four percent of these nations' fire fighters are volunteer or combination and most do not have the resources they need. We need the Fire Act funded to the full $750 Million and then some. Stand up and be heard. Write the President, your Senator and Congressman. Let them know we need this and their support and thank them for their past support. Pass this on. Thanks Randy President George W. Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Randall W. Ruble Secretary Pittsfield Fire Department President Twin Pike Mutual Aide Association 624 North Dutton Pittsfield, Il 62363 217-370-1051 Fax: 303-736-7079 Email: randallruble@xxxxxxxxxxxxx _____ From: nvfc-members-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:nvfc-members-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Craig Sharman Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 11:03 AM To: nvfc-members@xxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [Nvfc-members] House Leadership of Congressional Fire Services Caucus Laments Cuts to Fire Grant Program House Leadership of Congressional Fire Services Caucus Laments Cuts to Fire Grant Program Washington, D.C. - The House leadership of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus sent a letter on February 12 to President Bush urging him to reconsider his decision to significantly reduce funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. In his fiscal year 2005 budget, the Bush Administration proposes reducing the $750 million grant program by one-third, for a cut of $250 million dollars. The House leaders of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus who signed onto the letter were: Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Curt Weldon (R-PA), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Nick Smith (R-MI). The lawmakers stated in the letter, "Considering that nearly $3 billion in applications were submitted for the current program year, and also taking into account the recent Council on Foreign Relations report which highlighted the underfunding of our fire departments, a $250 million reduction in funding is unacceptable." Following is the text of the letter: Dear Mr. President: We write to express our deep concern over the treatment of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program in your fiscal year 2005 budget submission. As co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, we have resisted repeated attempts to reduce or eliminate funding for this vital program, whose purpose is to bring fire departments to a base line of readiness. We are particularly troubled by the decision to reduce by one third the $750 million appropriated by Congress during each of the past two years - a funding level by which Congress has demonstrated both its strong bipartisan support for the Fire Grant program, as well as its understanding of the contributions this program has made to our firefighters and the communities they serve. Considering that nearly $3 billion in applications were submitted for the current program year, and also taking into account the recent Council on Foreign Relations report which highlighted the underfunding of our fire departments, a $250 million reduction in funding is unacceptable. Further, we do not accept the assertion, based upon the findings of a Program Assessment Rating Tool, that the Fire Grant program "is unfocused and has not been able to demonstrate its impact on public safety." The fact is that this program has positively impacted public safety by providing nearly $2 billion for infrared cameras, hazmat detection devices, improved breathing apparatuses, advanced training and fitness programs, fire engines, and interoperable communication systems. This is the basic equipment our fire departments need to effectively respond to all hazards. We call upon you to release the complete results of this Program Assessment Rating Tool, so that Congress may take into account these findings when making important decisions about the fiscal year 2005 funding level, as well as during consideration of legislation to reauthorize the grant program. Additionally, we ask for clarification on the categories eligible for funding. It appears as though the budget would eliminate the noncompetitive grants, which focus on prevention initiatives, as well as a number of other programs. Saving lives starts with prevention. Just as the budget proposes millions in funding to prevent potential terrorist attacks, it should not overlook the importance of prevention as it relates to fires and other dangers that claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Finally, we are concerned about the recommendation that the Office of Domestic Preparedness "place greater emphasis on the unique role of Federal funds, particularly for terrorism preparedness." As you know, many in Congress did not support the decision last year to transfer the Fire Grant program to the jurisdiction of ODP, and many of us publicly committed to ensuring that the program continue to meet the basic firefighting and emergency response needs of our career and volunteer fire departments, rather than becoming an additional anti-terrorism grant program. This recommendation seems to justify our concerns. Mr. President, we urge you to reconsider your budget recommendation for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, and to work with Congress to fully fund the program and guarantee that it remains designed to meet the every day needs of the men and women serving our nation in the fire service. We ask far too many of them to risk their lives in our defense everyday with insufficient training and inadequate equipment, and we have an obligation to provide them the necessary resources to perform their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. ACTION: Contact your Senators and Representative immediately and ask them to support full funding of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program at the $900 million level in FY 2005 and to ensure that the program continues to focus on basic firefighting and emergency response needs. If you do not know their telephone number or address visit: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Due to the delay in getting mail to members of Congress, telephone and fax are the preferred ways to communicate with your elected officials in Washington.