Last week, a group of bipartisan senators introduced a $13.6 billion disaster relief package, S. 572, which would provide $480 million for emergency forest restoration, and $720 million for wildfire management. According to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), the proposal has support from President Donald Trump.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) told reporters on Tuesday that the he hopes to move a disaster relief package through the Senate before a weeklong recess the week of March 18, 2019. Chairman Shelby is working with leaders in the House to reconcile the differences between S. 572 and a House-passed proposal that would provide almost $14.2 billion.
Lawmakers from affected states had hoped to include a disaster aid package in the final omnibus appropriations bill for the Fiscal 2019 budget. However, the spending package was devoid of extraneous provisions, including disaster aid, in order to pass the measure in a short timeframe to avoid another government shutdown. Members of both parties in the House and Senate appear ready to deliver a substantial disaster relief package that would help relieve communities in rural California still recovering from wildfires.