By News release
(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bipartisan group of 32 senators in sending a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), urging them to include a reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program in any end-of-year government funding legislation. The SRS program supports public schools, public roads, forest health projects, emergency services and many other essential county services for more than 775 counties across the country.
The SRS program expired on September 30, 2015 and was not reauthorized for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 or beyond. Forest counties and schools received their last authorized SRS payments in 2016. Without SRS payments, existing revenue-sharing payments are not sufficient to support critical services these counties must provide. Three New Hampshire counties including Coos, Grafton and Carroll, receive payments through the SRS program to help offset the loss of revenue from timber receipts on federal forests.
The senators wrote, “The SRS program continues to be a critical safety-net for forest counties as we work to diversify rural economies, improve forest management and forest health, strengthen historic forest revenue sharing with local governments, and ensure that our forests provide a range of values such as clean water, jobs, and wood fiber for local economies.”
The senators continued, “In the interest of working together in a bipartisan way to support local rural communities, we ask that you include a reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in any end-of-the-year legislation. We appreciate your assistance with this matter.”
In addition to Senators Shaheen and Hassan, senators who signed the letter include: Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeffery A. Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), James E. Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The full letter, as delivered, can be read here.