Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, Second Session, March 26, 2014   [open pdf - 943KB]

From the opening statement of Jack Reed: "Turning to the Department's budget request, the discretionary total funded by the subcommittee increases by about 1 percent over fiscal year 2014, for a total of $10.6 billion. It is a relatively flat budget. Including the administration's new disaster cap proposal for firefighting, however, the total budget increases by almost 4 percent for a total of $10.8 billion. I am hopeful that providing a new framework for firefighting funding will prevent the Department from running out of funds before the end of the fiscal year and having to borrow from other programs. I am also hopeful that it will prevent the subcommittee from being forced to make difficult cuts to other priorities to pay for emergency firefighting. It is worth noting that in fiscal year 2014, we provided $3.9 billion for firefighting, including $600 million to pay for fire expenses from the prior year. We acted similarly in the fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution, where we provided more than $400 million for the fire expenses from the previous year. Congress was forced to pay for these additional costs with our regular discretionary appropriations because we did not have access to disaster funding. This means that, in the last 2 years, we have had to reallocate resources from other discretionary programs to pay for emergency firefighting activities. Paying for firefighting has meant less for water and sewer projects, Land and Water Conservation Fund programs, resource conservation, improvements to energy permitting, and all the other activities we fund through this bill." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Jack Reed, Sally Jewell, Mike Connor, Rhea Suh, and Pamela K. Haze.

Report Number:
S. Hrg. 113; Senate Hearing 113
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