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Letter to USDA and OMB Regarding Sequestration of Secure Rural Schools Payments

Posted Date: 
March 28, 2013
Ryan Yates, Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties

SRS Letter

Today, a bipartisan group of 31 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget concerning the USDA decision to retroactively subject the FY 2012 Secure Rural Schools program funding to sequestration.

National Association of Counties is concerned over the recent USDA announcement that due to the enactment of the Budget Control Act – which mandated budget reductions totaling $85 billion for FY13 – that FY 2012 funding for the Secure Rural Schools program is subject to sequestration.  The USDA announcement stated, “As mandated by sequestration, we will need to withdraw 5.1 percent of the payment that has already been received or reduce the amount to be dispersed in the coming weeks.” The USDA further stated that “States … will receive a bill for collection to return the sequestered amount to Treasury.”

Over the past six years, funding levels for the Secure Rural Schools program has been reduced by more than $180 million.  Further cuts to SRS will create dramatic budgetary shortfalls for 729 rural counties, severely impacting their ability to continue providing government services to the public.

The attached letter to the Office of Management and Budget and USDA requests a detailed explanation of the legal authority for demanding repayment of FY 2012 funds that have already been paid out by the federal government. NACo applauds the following members of Congress for their attention and oversight of program critical to 729 rural forest counties.  

Rep(s): Doc Hastings, Rob Bishop, Tom McClintock, Greg Walden, Don Young, Cynthia Lummis, Paul Gosar, Scott Tipton, Steve Southerland, Louie Gohmert, Glenn "GT" Thompson, Jason Chaffetz, Kurt Schrader, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Reid Ribble, Dan Benishek, Morgan Griffith, Peter DeFazio, Steve Daines, Steve Pearce, Ann Kirkpatrick, Shelley Moore Capito, Doug LaMalfa, Rick Crawford, Mark Meadows, Bob Goodlatte, Kristi Noem, Sean Duffy, Mike Simpson, Jim Matheson, and Steve Womack. 

NACo will continue to work with Congress, Governors, and the Administration to resolve this issue.

Ryan R. Yates | (202) 942-4207 |