WASHINGTON — Last night, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) voted to pass a disaster relief package that will have huge impacts on the Central Valley. The bill includes billions in new federal investments to deal with the ongoing drought, fight and prevent wildfires, aid farmers who’ve lost crops and families who’ve lost homes to disasters, fix disaster-damaged roads and bridges, and more.
The bill also includes a provision Rep. Harder pushed for earlier this week and has been advocating since the beginning of the year to lift the pay-cap for federal firefighters. These protections are in place until the end of the year. Before this inclusion, as many as 500 federal firefighters and first responders were in danger of hitting this pay cap, possibly limiting or eliminating their ability to accept wildfire fighting assignments while fires rage across the state.
“This bill gets funds directly to the farmers and families in the Valley who need them most. At the same time, it makes sure our federal firefighters are well paid and well equipped to keep our communities safe,” said Rep. Harder. “We have to do more to help folks impacted by these natural disasters while preparing for the next ones. This bill is a strong step in the right direction.”
The package includes:
- $10 billion in aid to cover crop losses due to natural disasters including smoke;
- $5 billion in disaster grants to help communities recover from events like wildfires;
- $200 million to fight the drought in the West;
- $345 million for long term wildfire and hurricane response systems;
- $230 million to manage wildfire fuels and conduct prescribed burns;
- $275 million to repair fire and flood damaged watersheds;
- $220 million to rehabilitate burned areas;
- $40 million for legal services for survivors of recent disasters.
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