Greg Walden on latest timber payments efforts

By Congressman Greg Walden,

September 26, 2008 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Greg Walden’s (R-Ore.) latest attempts today to reinsert a four-year extension of the county timber payments program (approved 93-2 by the Senate earlier this week) was blocked by the Democratic leadership on the House floor. The leadership used a procedural motion to block Walden’s attempt to offer the Senate version of the energy tax legislation, which included the four-year extension.

The only Democrats to vote to consider the county payments legislation were Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Nick Lampson (D-Texas), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Travis Childers (D-Mo.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Walden, using every tactic available to him in the House rules, will now focus on attempting to insert the next bill expected to come to the House floor, a $50 billion-plus economic stimulus package that has no payment means.

“I have tried every angle, every option, every tactic available to me and my leadership to get the Senate’s strongly bipartisan county payments extension through the House of Representatives,” Walden said. “I’ve been blocked at every turn by a Democratic leadership that is pushing rural counties off a cliff, but I will continue these efforts until we’re successful. The Senate is on board, the President is on board, and my Republican leadership is on board. I hope the majority Democratic leadership, who control the operations of the House, will get on board soon too.”

Walden had this to say during floor debate earlier this morning:

“For those of us from the West that are home to the rural timbered counties where federal land may equate to over half of our states and our districts, you want to talk about loss of jobs? Come to my district where we have three counties of the 20 that have over eight percent unemployment. The mills have been closed. These are blue collar jobs that have gone away because this Congress has failed to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools act. It’s in the Senate version of this legislation. The President has said he will sign that legislation. It can become law and then  our counties don’t have to gut their Sheriffs Departments, their fire departments, and their search and rescue departments. The libraries are closing. The teachers have been fired. It doesn’t have to happen that way. The Senate has risen to the challenge and come forward with a way to do this. Every time we have asked for help to reauthorize and fund this, this majority has figured out a way to deny this, with the exception of one emergency extension. We need your help on this.”

Congressman Greg Walden represents the people of Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and Central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and a member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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