WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House has passed a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program that provides payments to rural timber counties.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden announced the extension, included in a bill to reform doctor pay under Medicare, passed today by a vote of 392-37.
Walden, R-Hood River, lauded the approval, but also stressed the need continues for a “permanent fix for our forested counties.”
“But this is an emergency, and what we’re doing today is providing a lifeline to our school children in classrooms in rural counties that are forested under federal land, and making sure law enforcement have the resources they need,” he said.
The two-year extension goes next to the Senate. Walden urged quick action there, and noted the president said just yesterday he would sign it.
Walden also said further action is needed in Congress toward a permanent solution that reforms federal forest policy.
“I remain fully committed to working on forestry legislation that puts people back to work in the woods, reduces the threat of wildfire, and produces the revenue to allow for self-sustaining counties and the people in them,” he said. “I just hope this time, with a new majority in the Senate, we’ll be able to move forward.”