By Mary O’KEEFE
The panel that was to be convened on Aug. 10 to discuss the decisions that were made in early hours of the Station Fire has been postponed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session.
“I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teacher’s jobs and help seniors and children,” Pelosi Twittered on Aug. 4.
The House will discuss and hopefully vote on a $26 billion bill designed in part to help avoid teacher layoffs. Normally this time of year is when members of the House go back to their home states to meet with constituents. That was the perfect time for Schiff, along with Representatives David Dreier, Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon and July Chu to convene panel.
The Representatives and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in addition to Congressman Brad Sherman have also requested the “Government Accountability Office perform a full investigation of the Station Fire Incident from its inception on Aug. 26 to its containment on Oct. 16,” stated a joint press release from the Representatives.
The request came as reports indicated that critical U.S. Forest Service dispatch recording from the start of the fire were withheld from federal teams that have already conducted reviews of the Station Fire.
“We learned this week that critical Forest Service dispatch recordings from the start of the fire were withheld from federal review teams, which casts a dark cloud over the findings of the review panel and immediately warrants an independent review of the Station Fire response,” Schiff said in a statement. “Our purpose for both the Station Fire panel and request for a GAO investigation is to ensure that all actions in the response to the fire were taken swiftly, properly and competently. As fires again are breaking out in Southern California, this review is timely and more important than ever ensure the devastation of the Station Fire never happens again.”
The members are working together and with the panelists to find another date in the near future to convene.