U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon plans to use a rare procedure to force a vote on a bill to increase federal funding to fight wildfires. This as the U-S Forest Service is close to surpassing its firefighting budget for the year.
The Forest Service anticipates running out of money to fight fires in the next couple of weeks. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, has co-sponsored a bill that would increase funding for fighting wildfires and tap into federal emergency funds (which are used for natural disasters) for catastrophic wildfires. DeFazio has tried to get a hearing on the bill but he says Republican leaders have blocked it. DeFazio says he's trying a rare procedure called a discharge petition:
DeFazio: "If you get 218 people, and we've got more than 218 people that support this bill, to sign a petition, the bill is forced to a vote on the floor of the house no matter what Paul Ryan thinks or John Boehner thinks, or anybody else. And we've got 189 signatures. And I'm going to put on a big push when we go back to DC and hope to force a vote on that bill."
When the Forest Service goes over budget on fighting fires it has to reduce other programs including forest health, fuel reduction, and recreation.
Congressman Peter DeFazio is holding a town hall on Veterans issues Wednesdayafternoon at 2:30 at the American Legion in Albany.
He'll be in Corvallis for a Town Hall Wednesday evening at 5:15 at the Public Library.
DeFazio is holding town halls in Florence and Veneta Thursday.