Secure Rural Schools funding renewed for Skamania, rural counties

From Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler:


Recently in D.C., I joined my colleagues from across America who represent rural counties – like Skamania – in our continued effort to renew funding for SRS and PILT. I’m pleased we were able to finally secure an extension of this money for emergency services, roads and schools.

Skamania County is “ground zero” for failed federal forest policies, meaning it relies on the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act for vital school, road and emergency service funding.

Until we’re able to restore responsible management to our federal forests and the revenue such activity will generate, we need renewals of SRS in Congress — and yesterday Congress passed a two-year renewal with my support.

While I believe we need a long-term, sustainable solution for allowing our timber resource-rich communities to use sustainable forest management to wean them off this program – something they all desperately want — right now, SRS is the only lifeline they’ve got.

Additionally, I helped secure many other wins for Southwest Washington in this legislation as well: a fix for the wildfire “borrowing” that forces the Forest Service to gut the rest of its budget to fight wildfires each summer, vital mental health resources, funding to combat the opioid epidemic, and school safety measures. Read more about these important priorities here.
Another benefit from cutting taxes for Americans: health care insurer pledges better coverage in rural communities
Premera announced recently, as a direct result of the tax cuts Congress passed in December, it’s investing $200 million to improve health care in Washington, and that no rural counties will be without health insurance options in 2019.

In addition to bigger paychecks and employee bonuses benefiting nearly 90% of Southwest Washington residents, another advantage of the tax cuts Congress passed is that rural residents won’t be left without health care options next year thanks to Premera’s announcement. Read more about its plans to address health care needs in rural counties here.

And in further good news for folks in rural Pacific County, Premera announced earlier this month it will continue providing health care coverage at an Astoria hospital. This move came after I publicly highlighted the plight of rural Pacific County residents who would have been cut off from having medical care 30 minutes away in Astoria, and would be instead forced to travel nearly an hour and a half away to access many vital services covered by insurance.