Murkowski and Colleagues Urge Federal Officials to Deliver Secure Rural Schools Payments ASAP
Bipartisan Letter Says Rural Communities’ SRS Resources are Essential in Wake of Government Shutdown
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday urged federal officials to deliver Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the government shutdown. Murkowski was joined by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, James Risch, R-Idaho, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
In their bipartisan letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Acting Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt, the senators said rural residents in their states are concerned about shutdown-related delays impacting the disbursement of vital SRS support for their schools, roads and public safety.
“With thousands of workers having been furloughed in rural communities across the country and with the public having lost access to many of their public lands, the government shutdown had dire consequences in many rural areas,” the Senators wrote. “Given these concerns, please make every effort to ensure your agencies disperse SRS payments in a timely manner.”
The Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus spending bill included a two-year reauthorization for SRS, which retroactively covered Fiscal Year 2017 and Fiscal Year 2018. Under current law, Fiscal Year 2018 funds are to be dispersed as soon as possible after the Sept. 30, 2018 close of Fiscal Year 2018.
Last year, the federal government disbursed approximately $10.9 million in SRS funding to local communities in Alaska. The SRS program continues to be a critical safety-net for forest counties as Murkowski continues to work with other lawmakers to establish a permanent payment solution.
A copy of this letter is available here.
Murkowski chairs both the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.