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The following information is being shared from a post released by the Congressional Fire Services Institute:

Despite the appearance of gridlock on Capitol Hill, Congress addressed a number of important legislative issues benefiting our nation's fire and emergency services this past week. These are issue the national fire organizations, including the Congressional FIre Services Institute (CFSI), have been addressing with congressional leaders since the start of the 115th Congress. While much work remains ahead, it is important to take this opportunity to draw attention to the work of the organizations and how it is having a positive impact on Capitol Hill. Moreover, it serves as a reminder of why CFSI needs your continued support.

As we reported in our most recent CFSI Update, four important pieces of fire service legislation received consideration to various degrees in both the House and Senate last week. On May 16th, the Senate approved the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act, and the House approved the measure the following day. The legislation requires greater accountability from the Department of Justice in its administration of the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program so families of fallen officers do not remain in limbo with their application for benefits. The measure now awaits the President's signature before it becomes public law.

On May 17th, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved legislation to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighter and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant programs. This is one of many steps in the process to reauthorize both programs. The full Senate will eventually need to approve the measure as will the House. But this is a major step. The fire service owes a special thanks to a number of senators for their efforts, including the bill sponsors, Senators John McCain (AZ) and Jon Tester (MT); the chair and ranking member of the Committee, Senators Ron Johnson (WI) and Claire McCaskill (MI), respectively; and Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Tom Carper (DE) original co-sponsors.

On the following day, May 18th, the House approved H.R. 1892, the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act. The legislation amends the U.S. Flag Code, affirming the ability of state governors and the District of Columbia mayor to order the lowering of the United States flag to half-staff in the event of a line-of-duty death of a first responder. The legislation is pending in the Senate.

The previous week, over 20 congressional staffers participated in the annual Congressional Staff Ride-Along program. Assigned to stations in the District of Columbia, the staffers rode on apparatus to actual emergencies, witnessing District of Columbia first responders in action.

It was indeed a busy and productive week for the fire service. But it was not the beginning nor the ending of our work. To sustain our efforts, we can use your help. CFSI is a privately-funded organization; we do not receive federal grants. Instead, we rely on support from both individuals and organizations that see the value in our work of educating Congress about the challenges and needs of our nation's fire service.

Please consider supporting us through the CFSI Associates Club Program. Designed for individual supporters, the Associates Club Program provides a number of benefits based on your level of support. Please visit our website by clicking Associates Club to learn how you can become an Associate's Club member.

The most important benefit you'll receive as a member is knowing that CFSI will be able to maintain an active presence on Capitol Hill advocating for Congress to complete its work on these issues and other issues benefiting your profession.


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