Trump emergency funding request includes forest firefighting |

Trump emergency funding request includes forest firefighting

The Hagstrom Report
The Blacktail Fire, located in the Blacktail Creek area of the Crazy Mountains of Montana, two weeks ago.
The Hagstrom Report |

The White House on Oct. 5 sent Congress a second disaster supplemental request that includes funding for the U.S. Forest Service to fight fires as well as funding for the Puerto Rican hurricane relief effort and the National Flood Insurance Program.

The new $29.4 billion supplemental appropriations request includes $12.77 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund, $16 billion for National Flood Insurance Program debt forgiveness and $576.5 million to address wildfires in the western United States.

Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said, while the problem of the Forest Service borrowing money from accounts to fight fires must be addressed in a long-term manner, the Forest Service needs the money immediately because it has already exhausted its firefighting budget and has borrowed from other accounts.

“A significant number of Americans and their communities are working to overcome devastation from natural disasters. These emergencies have strained disaster response resources, which requires us to ensure federal agencies have sufficient funds for response and recovery needs,” said Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

“I encourage Congress to act swiftly to ensure those affected by hurricanes, wildfires or other disasters receive the assistance they need.”

Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said, “I am glad the administration is taking the next step in providing relief to those affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the wildfires that have scorched parts of our country. But this is just the next step of many we will need to take to provide immediate relief to those still in desperate need and to rebuild.”

“We need to stand by our commitment to not only rebuild, but invest in technology, conservation and infrastructure that will mitigate further damage and make our communities more resilient,” Leahy said.

“In a world where ‘100-year’ disasters are annual occurrences, we have no other choice.”