Sequestration Cuts To SRS Funds Oversight Hearing
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
During a recent oversight hearing the House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on the decision to retroactively subject 2012 Secure Rural School Program funds to 2013 sequestration cuts. During the hearing USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie testified that states that have not repaid the funds could more than likely expect them to be taken out of this year's SRS payments. Committee Chairman, Doc Hastings, had this to say about the Obama Administration's questionable application of sequestration to the Secure Rural School Program.
HASTINGS: These FY 2012 funds totaling $323 million were distributed to 41 states by the Department of Agriculture in January of 2013. Two months later the Obama administration announced, sighting sequestration cuts, that it was requesting repayment of 17.9 million that had already been distributed. The Obama Administration appeared intent on making the sequester as painful and visible as possible.
The Secure Rural Schools Program helps to provide rural counties with funds for teachers, schools, police officers, emergency services, and infrastructures.
HASTINGS: These payments are necessary because the federal government had failed to uphold its century old promise to actively manage our national forests and provide a stable revenue stream for rural counties containing national forest land. The Secure Rural Schools Program was intended to be a short-term solution and counties are still lacking a stable, dependable source of revenue.
For information about 2012 SRS funds received by Washington and Oregon counties visit the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management website at www.blm.gov.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.