California Democrats reject measures to strengthen wildland fire prevention and firefighting efforts


As firefighters across California try to contain the state’s largest wildfire near Lake Tahoe and new fires threatening ancient giant redwoods near two national parks in the southern Sierra Nevada, hope for relief has definitely died out on Capitol Hill.

Last week, members of the House agriculture committee passed amendments to the massive Democrat-led $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation budget bill.

Three amendments to the bill from Northern California Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) were aimed at strengthening the state’s response to wildfires.

The first, which would send $ 5 billion to the US Forest Service to fund wildfire prevention efforts in the west, was rejected by a narrow vote of 27-24 in the House Agriculture Committee. last week.

The second, which would send $ 500 million to help with restoration work in forests and communities consumed by forest fires, was rejected by 27 votes to 23 in committee.

And the third sought to take funds dedicated to President Biden’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps and reallocate them to forest fire suppression efforts on land belonging to the US National Forest System. This measure was rejected by 27 votes to 23.

California Representatives Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Lou Correa (D-Anaheim), Josh Harder (D-Turlock) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) stayed true to the party line, joining fellow Democrats in rejecting measures.

LaMalfa blasted his colleagues for killing off a targeted reform package to deal with the wildfire crisis in the West.

“When will common sense prevail in Congress?” LaMalfa reflects in a statement. “The West is on fire and the lack of real management for almost 40 years has led to some of the biggest fires on record. We need to take the quick stopping of these fires seriously before the fire gets a name and a subsequent seller of collectible t-shirts. “

“Prioritizing the initial attack by providing the necessary resources, additional planes and more smokejumpers, to put out these fires before they become a national news is the most basic solution to buying time to repair our forests. “, he added. “This package meets our immediate needs, increasing initial attack capabilities and helping with post-fire stabilization to protect what remains of our forests and watershed. It is also reforming the Forest Service to examine our long-term needs for increasing responsible thinning to prevent catastrophic fires. In order for our forest lands to be healthy, we really need to do some thinning, which also has the added benefit of creating good jobs in our region and the forest products Americans need. “

Valley Representatives Deny Broadband Increase, Farmer Tax Cuts

The Agricultural Committee has also worked to include $ 24 billion in funding for broadband Internet connections in rural communities by providing technical assistance for the so-called “last mile” installation of broadband infrastructure. as well as increasing the funds available to expand broadband lines.

Representatives Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Josh Harder (D-Turlock), who are lawmakers who represent deeply rural districts that would see an increase in internet service through the measure, voted against the spending allocation.

The couple also voted in favor of a procedural vote that blocked consideration of an amendment that would ban tax increases for farmers who earn less than $ 400,000 a year.

Despite recall outcome, GOP sees plenty of opportunity as Latino voters cool down on Democrats

In recent weeks, the Congressional Republican National Committee has stepped up efforts to capture growing discontent among Latino voters in California, highlighting the failures in Washington as a key catalyst.

Last week’s recall, although a blow to GOP hopes to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom, suggested a softening among Latino voters with Democrats in the Golden State.

“Donald Trump got a historic number of Latino votes in 2020, and you can pretend it was because of this or because of that, but it’s not like Larry Elder broke through for these people. Something else is happening, ”Michael Trujillo, a Southern California Democratic strategist, told NBC News last week.

GOP officials have turned their attention to ongoing budget struggles in Washington to bring attention to the failures of Democrat-led Capitol Hill.

Last week, they began running new digital ads in targeted congressional districts, linking members to President Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

“We are sending doormats to these lawmakers to remind them that they let Nancy Pelosi walk all over them,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn) said of the current maneuvering on the heavyweight bill. expenses.

“Voters will hold accountable any Democrats who support Nancy Pelosi’s reckless $ 3.5 trillion tax and spending folly.”

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