Manchin, Capito lead bipartisan colleagues in calling for financial security for rural communities during coronavirus pandemic

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) led 27 Senators on a letter calling for the Senate to finally provide much-needed financial certainty during the COVID-19 pandemic for rural communities to ensure long-term funding needed for essential services through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs.

The Senators said in part, “The stop and start authorizations and payments under SRS and PILT have wreaked havoc on rural America for decades, and now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the budgets of these rural counties are decimated. These two programs fund roads, schools, law enforcement, and essential county services, such as public health programs. With inadequate funding and now additional demands on their resources, rural communities and counties are at the breaking point.”

In November 2019, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also held a legislative hearing on PILT and SRS, and received testimony on legislation that would permanently extend SRS and build on the historic link between timber receipts and county payments.

Senators Manchin and Capito were joined by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), James Risch (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Cory Gardner R-CO), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Patty Murray (D-WA).       

The letter can be read in full below or click here.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

Following up on the State, County and Locality Stabilization Fund passed as part of the CARES Act in late March 2020, we believe there is an opportunity to further stabilize local government funding in rural counties throughout America. We respectfully request a long-term solution for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs at the next possible opportunity.

The stop and start authorizations and payments under SRS and PILT have wreaked havoc on rural America for decades, and now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the budgets of these rural counties are decimated. These two programs fund roads, schools, law enforcement, and essential county services, such as public health programs. With inadequate funding and now additional demands on their resources, rural communities and counties are at the breaking point.

Despite being small, rural, and generally relatively remote, county governments that rely on SRS and PILT are responding to the same national health crisis facing larger cities and urban areas.

Extending these two programs has wide, bipartisan support, which was on display as recently as 2019, when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a legislative hearing on PILT and SRS, and received testimony on legislation that would permanently extend SRS and build on the historic link between timber receipts and county payments.

In order to assist these rural counties’ response to the current public health crisis, as well as to invest in infrastructure, schools, and law enforcement, Congress must consider long-term solutions for PILT and SRS as soon as possible to ensure viability for these programs for generations to come.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print
Share on email

My Buckhannon News Feed

BUCKHANNON – Several fire departments converged at the Upshur Cinema 6 parking lot for training June 16. Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble said the departments...
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice welcomed West Virginians to the Capitol Complex on Sunday, June 20, 2021, to celebrate the State’s 158th birthday and...
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. –– Want to be part of Upshur County Relay for Life, but don’t know how to get started? Want to help in some...
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on draft documents regarding mussel survey protocols and stream guidance....
TENNERTON – Community members who are out walking, biking, hiking or otherwise enjoying nature and exercising on the Upshur County Trails have the opportunity to...
GLENVILLE, W.Va. – Glenville State College has partnered with Barnes & Noble College to implement BNC First Day Complete, a course material delivery model that...
Fairmont State University Assistant Professor of Art, Kylie Ford, doesn’t just teach her students about creative methods and techniques; she also imparts values that will...
Editor’s note: This story was originally published by Mountain State Spotlight. Get stories like this delivered to your email inbox once a week; sign up...
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has approved Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power’s application for a middle-mile broadband infrastructure expansion project...
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at...
BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Schools has striven to be accommodating to the needs of its students during the worldwide pandemic, and in that vein, the school system recently announced that instructional flexibility will carry through to the 2021-2022 school year. […]

This content is available exclusively to My Buckhannon premium members. Join today and unlock unlimited access to all our content, including local news stories, photo galleries, community columns and much more.

Daniel Howard Lantz, 46, of Buckhannon, W.Va., died Saturday, June 19, 2021, at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. He was born February 11,...
BUCKHANNON – The July 2 Festival Fridays gathering will be a blast with the City of Buckhannon’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display slated to...

(Please wait while we load more stories…)

Thank you for reading this story. Our sponsors help make My Buckhannon possible. Show 'em some love!