Simpson, Labrador split vote on rural schools funding

Idaho’s House members split their vote on a spending plan that would extend federal funding for schools in timber country.

Mike Simpson
Rep. Mike Simpson

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act was worth $7.2 million to Idaho schools in 2013-14 — with much of the money going to rural districts such as Mountain View, Salmon and McCall-Donnelly.

The two-year extension of the program is included in a larger Medicare spending bill. It passed the House 392-37 and now heads to the Senate.

Second District Rep. Mike Simpson supported the bill, H. R. 2.

“My Western colleagues and I have been working tirelessly to ensure Congress address the immediate needs of Secure Rural Schools payments and I was thrilled that H.R. 2 offered the solution,” said Simpson said in a news release. “Though H.R. 2 is not perfect, you would have to look long and hard to find a reason to vote no.”

Raul Labrador
Rep. Raul Labrador

First District Rep. Raul Labrador said he did find a reason to vote no.

Congressman Labrador has long advocated a lasting solution for Secure Rural Schools,” Labrador press secretary Dan Popkey said in a statement. “Attaching two years of SRS funding to a completely unrelated Medicare bill that adds $141 billion to our $18 trillion debt was unacceptable. The congressman will continue his effort to enact lasting reforms empowering rural counties to generate revenue from underutilized federal forests.”

For a closer look at the Secure Rural Schools program, and its implications for Idaho districts, here’s a link to our recent coverage. And here’s more on the story from the Idaho Statesman’s Rocky Barker.