Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) pledged on Friday to extend the Secure Rural Schools program for at least another year, buying time to craft a long-term solution for rural communities.
Baucus, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has strongly supported the program in the past, and said he will again work to ensure the lifeline for resource-dependent communities does not disappear.
"These investments are the lifeline that keeps teachers in the classroom, lights on at the road department and emergency crews on the job in Montana counties,” Baucus said. “And they are rightfully due to rural counties that are home to large areas of federal lands. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them."
Wyden, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has worked for years to provide stability to rural Oregon communities, and authored the original Secure Rural Schools and County Self-Determination Act in 2000.
“Maintaining the federal government’s historic obligation to rural Oregon and to rural America has always been my top legislative priority,” Wyden said. “As the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I plan to throw my weight behind an extension of this program, to make sure rural counties are not left in the lurch.”