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White House asks Congress for funds to avert wildland firefighter pay cut during fire season

BY: MEREDITH LEE HILL | 08/10/2023 03:25 PM EDT

The White House is asking Congress for $60 million across the Agriculture and Interior Departments to avoid a rapidly approaching funding cut in wildland firefighter pay as the fire reason ramps up.

The White House request includes $45 million in funds for USDA and $15 million for Interior to continue current wildland firefighter pay levels, which are slated to hit a cliff in the coming weeks, just as the fire season is hitting full stride. The deadly fires in Maui are adding urgency to the move, which has some bipartisan support in Congress, but lawmakers have yet to push through any legislative fixes.

The ask is part of a larger supplemental funding request the Biden administration is submitting to Congress to address dwindling domestic disaster aid and provide new military assistance to Ukraine amid Russia’s war. The package also asks for Congress to provide $7.3 billion in funding for new humanitarian and security assistance to Ukraine and other countries hit by Russia’s war. That includes global food aid a group of senators have been pressing the White House to include in the request.

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