The Secure Rural Schools Program Needs to Be Reauthorizedby Representative Derek Kilmer
Posted on 2015-01-13
KILMER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1
Mr. KILMER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call for the House to
immediately take up legislation to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools
For more than 100 years, the Federal Government has recognized the financial stresses that national forest land puts on local communities. The failure of Congress to reauthorize this program at the end of the last Congress has resulted in significant budget gaps and enormous uncertainty for county governments in my State and throughout the country.
School districts across the country are poring over their books, figuring out how to scale back essential services that they provide to students, to our kids, and to their families.
In Washington State, one county has seen its budget for the sheriff's office cut in half, making layoffs inevitable. The region I represent, Jefferson County, is now struggling to repair a key access road that was washed out from a storm.
Without Secure Rural Schools funding to complete the repairs, the county is left hoping a State emergency declaration will provide needed funds. Other counties are facing similar projects in limbo.
Mr. Speaker, let's maintain our Federal obligation to rural and timber communities and work in a bipartisan fashion to pass legislation that reauthorizes and funds this critical program as soon as possible.