House passes wildfire bill, departs until reconciliation vote |

House passes wildfire bill, departs until reconciliation vote

The House late Friday passed The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act and departed Washington, expecting to be called back this month to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, also known as the reconciliation bill.

Assuming agreement can be reached with Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., who has indicated she may not vote on the bill without changes, the Senate is expected to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act this week.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., advised members that “pending Senate action on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the House will meet during the month of August.”

Members will be given at least a 24-hour notice before the House will be called back to session. Hoyer said.

Otherwise, the House calendar does not call for votes until Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Committees can meet beginning Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day, according to the calendar.

The vote on the wildfire and drought act was 218 to 199, with one Republican voting for the bill, one Democrat against it, and 14 members not voting.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., praised House action on the bill and said she would work to pass it in the Senate.

“The House is correct to prioritize these two critical issues,” Feinstein said. “Wildfire and drought are two existential threats for the Western United States, particularly California. We must do all we can to prepare for and combat wildfires and improve our water infrastructure to better cope with ongoing drought conditions.”

“As climate change gets worse and temperatures rise, we know that droughts will become more destructive and wildfires more deadly.,” Feinstein said.

“That’s why these two issues are my top priorities, and I’m pleased that several provisions I have authored this year are included in the bill that passed today. I am working to ensure the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will move similar legislation later this year.”

Feinstein highlighted her legislation to raise wildland firefighters’ pay, fund forest restoration projects and a prescribed fire training center in the West, and other provisions.

But Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, called the bill the House Democrats’ “latest messaging bill which is duplicative in nature and won’t provide the U.S. Forest Service with the tools and resources needed to combat America’s wildfire crisis.”


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