News Releases

Wildfires: Bill will finally end the outdated practice of “fire borrowing,” which has hindered fire prevention efforts and drained U.S. Forest Service budgets for years 

Secure Rural Schools: Bill includes two-year extension of critical program that helps rural communities maintain schools, law enforcement officers, and more

(Washington, D.C.)  Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, applauded two critically important provisions that have been included in the federal spending bill to help fire prevention efforts and better support rural communities. The bill text was made public today.

WILDFIRES: The first provision is a fix to end so-called fire borrowing, an outdated practice that has forced the U.S. Forest Service to drain its budget each summer fighting wildfires instead of using funds for fire prevention and preparedness efforts. The fix will allow the U.S. Forest Service to get ahead of wildfires and reduce the severity of the fire season, creating a better way to handle the costs of this type of disaster.

SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS: Second, the spending bill includes a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program, which fulfills the government’s promise to support rural communities with resources for public schools, public roads, forest health projects, emergency services, and law enforcement in more than 700 counties across the country, including 27 in Washington state. Last fall, Sen. Murray joined Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and others in a letter to President Trump, urging his administration work with Congress to reauthorize Secure Rural Schools.

“It’s encouraging to see Congress come together with common sense solutions on two critically important issues facing communities in Washington state and around the Western U.S. With this bill, our country will finally treat wildfires like the disasters they are, and put much-needed attention on preventing fires in the first place. And by extending Secure Rural Schools, we will continue to provide the critical safety-net our rural communities need as they work to diversify their economies. I’m proud to see these provisions in the spending bill, and I’ll keep fighting to ensure the federal government delivers on its obligation to our communities, big and small.”