WASHINGTON, D.C. — Both Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke out in favor of the U.S. Senate’s approval of a bill to keep the government running through mid-December. The legislation also includes $700 million in emergency funding to refill wildfire accounts drained during this summer’s devastating fire season. But, Wyden says it’s not enough. “The short-term fix is an unfortunate necessity, as once again, the Congress has chosen to govern by crisis. Congress can and must do better. I will keep pushing for a bipartisan, long-term fix to provide funding for prevention as well as wildfire suppression.”
Wyden went on to say, “Short-changing the forest service funds is not just a problem for western states. Forest work in other states gets short-changed when money has to be diverted to fight wildfires in Oregon and the west. It’s time to treat the major fires like the disasters they are.”
Senator Merkley says that without the emergency funds, the Forest Service and other agencies would be forced to undergo massive cuts to operating costs. Both Merkley and Wyden called on Congress to pass a long-term funding fix that would treat major fires like other natural disasters.