Bill to reopen government includes $636 million for wildland fire

The bill to reopen the government included $636 million for wildland fire.

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Dollar SignOver the last 48 hours, fast and furious negotiations were taking place on provisions of the bill that would end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling in order to prevent economic Armageddon. Both the House and the Senate passed the bill Wednesday night and the President said he would sign it.

Much to the surprise of almost everybody, instead of being a “clean” bill that would avoid unnecessary controversy and be less difficult to pass, it included several off the wall provisions, including funds to fix flooded roads in Colorado, a $3 million appropriation for a civil liberties oversight board, a one-time payment to the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who died over the summer, and almost $3 billion for construction on the lower Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky.

But the bill also included $636 million for wildland fire. Of that total, $36 million is for the Department of Interior wildland fire management program, with $15 million of that earmarked for burned area rehab. The “Department of Forest Service” will receive $600 million for wildland fire suppression. These dollars appear to be designed to repay the funds that were taken from non-fire programs within the agencies in order to pay for fire suppression costs that exceeded the appropriated amounts in fiscal year 2013.

The bill also requires that furloughed federal employees be compensated.

Below are verbatim portions of the bill, pages 10 and 17-19, that include the salary payment for furloughed federal employees, and that specify funding for wildland fire. Either the document was typed very quickly resulting in dozens of typos, or a paper version of the bill was scanned and converted back to text by an optical character recognition program that was less than 100% accurate. Or both. The entire bill can be found HERE.

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“SEC. 115. Eniplojvees furlouglied as a result of any lapse in appropriations which begins on or about October 1, 2013, shall be compensated at their standard rate of cornpensation, for the period of such lapse in appropriations, as soon as practicable after such lapse in appropriations e11ds.

[…]

SEC. 137. In addition to the amount otherwise provided by section 101 for “Department of the Interior–Departineiit-wide P1’ogI’ams–Wildla11d Fire Manageinept”, there is appropriated $36,000,000 for an additional amount for fiscal year 2014.-, to remain available until expended, for urgent vvildland fire suppression activities: Prooilded, That of the funds provided, $15,000,000 is for burned area rehabilitation: Provided fi,c-rflier, That such funds shall only become available if funds previously provided for wildland fire suppression will be exhausted iinminently and the Secretary of tlie Interior notifies the Conunittees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate in vvriting of the need for these additional funds: Provided That such funds are also available for transfer to other appropriations accounts to repay amounts previously transferred for suppression.

SEC. 138. In addition to the amount otherwise provided hy section 101 for “Departnient of Forest Serviee–Wildland Fire Maiiagenient”, there is appropriated $600,000,000 for an additional arnount for fiscal year 2014, to remain available until expeiided, for urgent vvildland fire suppressioii activities: Provided, That such funds shall only become available if funds previously provided for ivildland fire suppression will be exhausted irurninently and the Secretary of Agriculture notifies the coinrnittees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate in writing of the need for these additional funds: Provided fitrther, That such funds are also available for transfer to other appropriations accounts to repay amounts previously transferred for wildfire suppression.

SEC. 139. The authority provided by section 347 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 {as contained in section 101(e) of division A of Public Law 16 U.S.C. 2104 note) shall continue in effect througli the date specified in section 106(3) of this joint resolution.”

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UPDATE at 6:52 p.m. MDT October 17, 2013:

Now that the government is running again and the Government Printing Office web site is back on line, a good copy of the bill is available.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

3 thoughts on “Bill to reopen government includes $636 million for wildland fire”

  1. Goodness, that does look like an OCR scanning issue. Just hope those commas and decimal points are in the right places. Thanks for sharing!

    1. “SEC. 115. Eniplojvees furlouglied as a result of any lapse… shall be compensated… as soon as practicable after such lapse in appropriations e11ds.”

      Well, I v̶e̶l̶t̶ ̶v̶e̶r̶e̶y̶ ̶h̶u̶r̶r̶a̶y̶e̶d̶ felt very hurried… :-p

      I’ll fix it, as soon as I get paid… 😉

      OCR… lol

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