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Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

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The Hill – Rep. Peters introduces discharge petition for wildfire funding bill

Jul 16, 2014
In The News
House Democrats have filed a discharge petition in an attempt to push through a bill to allow the Obama administration to dip into contingency funds when wildfire fighting budgets get out of hand.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) announced the petition Friday morning along with other Democrats from western states. If the petition gets 218 signatures, it would allow the House to vote on the bill, even if Republican leaders do not want to bring it to a vote. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she supports the discharge petition on a bill that she said enjoys bipartisan support. She also accused Republicans of holding up President Obama’s separate request for an additional $615 million to fight wildfires, which have grown more severe and damaging in recent years.

“Wildfires are clearly emergencies, and fighting them shouldn’t be subject to Washington’s dysfunction,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“As Republicans hold up the emergency supplemental appropriation, the need to break wildfire efforts free from partisan obstruction is clearer than ever. The discharge petition led by Congressman Scott Peters demands a vote on bipartisan and long-overdue legislation to designate wildfires as emergency spending,”

Discharge petitions take 30 legislative days before they can be acted upon. Since the House will take a recess of all of August and nearly all of October, Peters’ petition would not be ripe until Nov. 19.

The underlying bill was sponsored by Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Kurt Schrader (R-Ore.). It would allow federal firefighting agencies such as the Forest Service to dip into emergency funds when annual firefighting budgets pass 70 percent of the 10-year average.

The bill has 104 co-sponsors.