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Sen. Hatch pushes bipartisan effort to renew funding for rural counties, schools

In this Nov. 13, 2017, photo, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, arrives as the tax-writing panel begins work on overhauling the nation's tax code, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Millions would forgo coverage if Congress repeals the unpopular requirement that Americans get health insurance, gambling with their own wellbeing and boosting premiums for others. Just as important, the drive by GOP senators to undo “Obamacare’s” coverage requirement fits in with Trump administration efforts to write regulations allowing for plans with limited benefits and lower premiums. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(KUTV) Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are leading a bipartisan group of 32 senators in urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to include a re-authorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program in any year-end legislation.

SRS supports public schools, public roads, forest health projects, emergency services, and many other essential county services for more than 775 counties across the country.

The SRS program expired on September 30, 2015, and has not been re-authorized.

Forest counties and schools received their last authorized SRS payment in 2016. Without SRS, existing revenue-sharing payments are not sufficient to support critical services these counties need to provide.

The senators wrote:

"The SRS program continues to be a critical safety-net for forest counties as we work to diversify rural economies, improve forest management and forest health, strengthen historic forest revenue sharing with local governments, and ensure that our forests provide a range of values such as clean water, jobs, and wood fiber for local economies.

In the interest of working together in a bipartisan way to support local rural communities, we ask that you include a reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in any end-of-the-year legislation. We appreciate your assistance with this matter."

You can read the full letter below:

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