Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked a supplemental funding bill that would provide resources to Western states fighting ongoing wildfires, help address the refugee crisis along the Southern border, and protect Israel from rocket attacks.
"As a Senator from Washington state, I am extremely disappointed that Republicans have prevented us from providing critical federal resources to fight the devastating wildfires that are currently raging across the Western United States. Already, the United States Forest Service has used a significant portion of their annual resources to suppress wildfires, and without additional funding they will be forced to redirect fire prevention funds to fight existing fires, which will only make these problems worse in the future. I am going to keep fighting for this emergency funding to fight wildfires in Washington state and across the region, and I am hopeful that Republicans will come back from their home states ready to work with us to get this done.
"I am also extremely disappointed that Republicans have prevented us from sending emergency federal resources to what we should all recognize as a terrible, humanitarian crisis along our country's Southern border. Despite this setback, I am going to keep working toward a bipartisan deal to protect the tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America. Republicans blocking progress on this bill ignore the needs of American communities along the Southern border and threaten our country's reputation as a place that treats everyone fairly and protects children when it is not safe for them to return to their home countries.
"Finally, today's actions by Republicans have delayed us from standing with Israel and providing additional resources to protect them from rocket attacks. As violence in Israel continues, each day is a missed opportunity to provide additional support for a critical American ally."
The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, totaling $3.571 billion, is intended to address three ongoing crises in need of additional federal funding. The bill includes $2.731 billion for the unaccompanied children crisis, $225 million to support the Iron Dome missile defense system in Israel, and $615 million to fight wildfires. The bill also authorizes disaster spending for the Forest Service and Department of the Interior firefighting needs.
Last week, a dozen U.S. Senators, including Senator Murray, sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for swift passage of the emergency bill, which would allocate $615 million -- accessible immediately -- to fight wildfires. Two weeks ago, Senator Murray and nine of her colleagues wrote to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in support of the funding to address the unaccompanied children crisis, which included funds to expand the Department of Justice's Legal Orientation Program, hire 40 additional immigration judge teams, and provide direct legal representation to children in immigration courts.