First Responder Initiative: Policy Issues and Options [Updated December 11, 2002]   [open pdf - 65KB]

"In February 2002, the Bush Administration proposed a new block grant program called the 'First Responder Initiative,' to help state and local first responders prepare for possible terrorist attacks. Under the Administration proposal, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would administer the program, which, if approved, would provide $3.5 billion to states and localities. The Administrations primary goal for the program is to improve the ability of first responders (police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel) to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The program would fund a broad range of activities in the areas of planning, training, exercises, and equipment. The 107th Congress considered a number of bills similar to the Administration proposal. On October 1, 2002, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committed reported S. 2664, the First Responder Terrorism Preparedness Act of 2002. The bill contained several features proposed by the Administration, including a 25% matching requirement, a wide range of eligible activities, and a requirement that states distribute 75% of funds to sub-state regions. S. 2664 also contained some provisions not specified in the Administration proposal, such as establishing standards for training and equipment and prohibiting the use of funds for overtime expenses. Other proposals for preparedness block grants were introduced in the 107th Congress, including S. 2038/H.R. 4059."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31475
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