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Legislative notebook

Timber payments advocacy ongoing
Senators speak out against financial bailout
by Ty Beaver, H&N 9/23/08
Following are this weekís developments in Washington, D.C., regarding the Klamath Basinís congressional delegation:
   A tax-cut-extenders bill with a multiyear extension of federal timber payments will go before the Senate today. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and other congressmen are working to provide a one-year extension before the House adjourns this week.
   The payments provided about $15 million annually to Klamath County.
   Luke Kintigh, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., said the perception is that the payments, originally provided through the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self Determination Act, had broad support among senators and in the White House, but its future in the House is unclear.
   A ndrew W helan, Waldenís spokesman, said the congressman is circulating a letter to provide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today, which advocates inserting a one-year extension of the payments into the Houseís continuing resolution. The continuing resolution is a funding bill to keep the federal government running until a full appropriations bill is passed.
   About 28 lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have signed the letter.
Lawmakers respond to Wall Street bailout plan
   Oregonís senators say there is an urgent need to address the nationís present financial crisis, but they havenít signed onto President Bushís $700 billion bailout of the nationís financial markets.
   U.S. Sens. Gordon Smith, ROre., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in press releases they donít want to see golden parachutes and other compensation packages to corporate executives resulting from the financial rescue and want to ensure taxpayers are compensated for use of their dollars.
   ďWhen taxpayers are asked to pay hundreds of billions of dollars for bailouts, they should get a fair return on their investment,Ē Wyden said.
   Smith said Wall Streetís recent woes cannot be ignored, as they affect mortgages and retirement funds of many Americans, but that doesnít mean the markets should get a blank government check.
   Wyden said the presidentís current proposal isnít acceptable, adding that he will look to the recent bailout of insurance giant AIG, which yielded 80 percent of its stock for $85 billion, as a model of what the government should do.
   Walden did not immediately return calls for comment.
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