Idaho Congressman wins the inclusion of money to replenish depleted wildfire accounts
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted in favor of legislation that would extend government funding at post-sequestration levels through December 15th and defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The legislation, known commonly as a Continuing Resolution (CR), passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 230-189 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
“This short-term continuing resolution allows the government to stay open and critical services to remain available to the American people while Congress works on a more balanced and permanent plan for ongoing funding,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Importantly, this CR holds funding to post-sequestration levels and blocks the implementation of Obamacare and its devastating impacts on our economy. I remain as hopeful as ever that Congress will use the time this CR provides to take on the difficult tasks of reducing spending, simplifying our tax code and reforming our entitlement programs so we can make real progress toward a balanced federal budget.”
Simpson also praised the CR’s inclusion of funding he sought to provide $600 million to the Forest Service and $36 million to the Department of the Interior to restore wildfire suppression accounts that have been depleted during the devastating 2013 fire season. Simpson chairs the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the budget for public lands agencies like the Forest Service and the BLM.
The funding in the CR helps to address what is referred to as “fire borrowing.” When budgeted fire suppression funding is depleted, agencies are forced to take money from other non-fire accounts in order to continue fighting fires.
“One of the biggest problems with fire borrowing is that it perpetuates the cycle of catastrophic wildfires in forests that are not being adequately managed,” said Simpson. “Siphoning money away from resource management accounts during a bad fire year means that those forests will be more susceptible to devastating fires in the future—and when almost every year is a bad fire year, land managers’ hands are tied. Restoring this funding will help ensure that fire fighters can continue to put out fires without jeopardizing the important work of hazardous fuels removal, resource restoration, and timber harvests that we need to do in order to return our forests to health.”
The CR, H.J. Res. 59, also includes the text of H.R. 2682, the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013, and H.R. 807, the Full Faith and Credit Act.
To view the text of the bill, please visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hres352rh/pdf/BILLS-113hres352rh.pdf