Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act. H.R. 5118 is House Democrats’ latest messaging bill which is duplicative in nature and won’t provide the U.S. Forest Service with the tools and resources needed to combat America’s wildfire crisis.
Prior to passage of H.R. 5118, Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, delivered the following remarks on the House floor.
As prepared for delivery:
"Wildfire is a national crisis we must confront immediately. Tens of millions of acres are overgrown and unhealthy, but this bill won’t meet those challenges or provide the Forest Service with the tools they need to combat this threat.
"The Forest Service has already announced a strategy to treat 50 million acres. Mandating a new plan is duplicative, removes flexibility, creates restrictions, and limits projects.
"This bill authorizes billions for recreation, wilderness programs, and old growth, which have nothing to do with protecting communities and mitigating wildfire.
"And because this is only authorizing legislation, the Forest Service would be directed to carry out the provisions without being provided the necessary funding.
"Additionally, there are none of the much-needed regulatory reforms that would allow the Forest Service to increase the pace and scale of restoration and wildfire mitigation.
"There have been no committee hearings, markups, stakeholder feedback, or technical assistance. The Majority also blocked nearly every amendment filed from even being debated today.
"The provisions within the Agriculture Committee’s jurisdiction are largely unvetted but are being crammed into this 558-page bill which we only first saw last week.
"As imperative as the wildfire crisis is, I urge my colleagues to vote NO on this legislation."