Minority of Senators Blocks Emergency Aid for Wildfires, Refugee Crisis

Bennet Urges Congress to Find Path Forward

Following the Senate’s failed vote to advance a bill that would provide emergency aid for wildfires and the refugee crisis, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet called on his colleagues to work together to find a path forward for these crises. The bill includes $615 million in emergency firefighting funds for the U.S. Forest Service, $2.73 billion to address the crisis of unaccompanied children seeking refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border, and $225 million for Israel to procure additional Iron Dome interceptors.

“Once again, a minority of senators is preventing the Senate from doing its job,” Bennet said. “Communities in Colorado and throughout the West shouldn’t have to live in fear that the federal government won’t be able to help fight a damaging wildfire. These emergency resources are crucial to saving lives and protecting property and natural resources.

“This bill also provides the funding to help deal with the surge of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Without this funding, our border agents and immigration system will continue to be overwhelmed, and the crisis will only worsen. This bill would help us protect the border and care for and safely return these kids to their home countries. The Senate needs to find a path forward to deal with these crises, or we will end up spending a whole lot more addressing even bigger problems in the future,” Bennet added.

Bennet has led efforts in Congress to help Colorado communities mitigate the risk of wildfire and secure resources to fight fires. He also has worked to help Colorado communities rebuild and repair watersheds in the wake of recent wildfires and other natural disasters.

Bennet is a member of the bipartisan “Group of 8” that introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 last April following several months of discussions and negotiations with a diverse group of stakeholders. The bill secures our borders, includes a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, makes reforms to an outdated visa system to ensure businesses have access to the workers they need, and includes important worker protections. The Senate passed the bill last June.

Bennet’s work on the bill was informed by a statewide conversation on immigration he led that produced a set of principles called the Colorado Compact. Hundreds of statewide leaders spanning the political, business, law enforcement, agricultural, civic, and religious spectrums signed the Compact.