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Congressman Greg Walden's Oregon Congressional Connection

Dear fellow Oregonian:

The national energy tax gets one step closer to reality

As you may already know, the so-called cap and trade bill passed the House of Representatives narrowly on Friday. I opposed this bill, which levies the largest-ever energy tax on the American people. Click here or on the image below to watch my speech on the House floor on Friday:


If it becomes law, PacifiCorp would hike its power rates in Oregon by at least 17.9 percent. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the National Energy Tax would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill’s restrictions kick in, that could climb as high as $6,800 by 2035.

The authors of the bill recognized the toll higher energy prices will take on families, so they developed a new “energy stamps” welfare program. The size of this new entitlement is 16-times bigger than America’s already-existent welfare system (the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program). But if you’re a family of four making more than $33,000 a year, you’re out of luck. The program doesn’t apply to you.

You might assume that such an incredibly consequential bill would have been vetted carefully before passage. Incredibly, you’d be wrong. At 2:49 a.m. on Friday, the bill’s author, Representative Henry Waxman (D-Hollywood), introduced a new, 309-page rewrite of the 1,201-page bill. I have trouble believing that any member of Congress read through this new rewrite in the handful of hours before the vote. And out of 224 amendments that Republicans hoped to have considered, Speaker Nancy Pelosi only allowed one to receive a vote on the House floor.

You may also recall from past e-newsletters that initial drafts of the national energy tax, pushed on the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the representative from Beverly Hills, Henry Waxman, would unnecessarily and severely restrict the emerging woody biomass/renewable electricity industry in Oregon before it could make the tremendous economic and forest health impact for Oregon that just about everyone agrees it could have.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Check out this video by clicking here or on the image below that I think sums up the differing priorities right now in the nation’s capital.

Suppressing science at the Environmental Protection Agency?

Late last week, I joined some of colleagues at a news conference where we called for an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency alleged actions to suppress the scientific analysis of a career employee.

Here’s the short story: Earlier this year, the EPA released what’s called an “endangerment finding” on carbon dioxide, which basically states that carbon dioxide is a toxic pollutant. That paved the way for the EPA to regulate energy use if Congress failed to act. As you know, the House has passed that national energy tax and the Senate is working on similar legislation.

However, before EPA issued its “endangerment finding,” a 38-year career veteran economist in the EPA named Dr. Alan Carlin (he earned a B.S. in physics from Cal-Tech and a PhD in economics from MIT) wrote a report for the agency that alerted his superiors to evidence that was critical to the justification for the EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide.

Then, for reasons unknown, he was shut down by a superior, and told in an e-mail that the Obama “administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.”

Why would EPA rush their decision and silence dissenting views?   The email exchange is quite troubling.

It’s time to put the spotlight of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on the EPA’s process. As the top Republican on the panel, I’ve asked the Democratic chairman to agree to an investigation. Hopefully, we don’t get to the point where we must subpoena witnesses and documents, but I’m willing to go that far if it means getting at the truth.

Dr. Carlin, the EPA professional who was silenced, was simply doing what every taxpayer should expect from their public servants—a full and thorough analysis of an incredibly important policy decision. Why in the world was he and others shut down?

Stay tuned for more on this developing story…

Great news for veterans

There were some real positive steps taken last week in the House on behalf of the country’s veterans:

            The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1016). This bill would give the VA would a more predictable funding source to allow them to plan ahead for how best to care for the veterans that rely on their services. This bill will now move on to the Senate for their consideration.

            The Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act (H.R. 1211).  With a growing number of female veterans, it is important that the VA ensures it is able to serve their medical needs.  If it becomes law, this bill would call for an assessment of all health care services and programs provided by the VA for female veterans and requires the VA to improve programs for veterans suffering from military sexual trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder, provide medical care for newborn children of female veterans, and conduct a pilot program of child care for female veterans receiving health care from VA facilities.  It is now up to the Senate to consider this important legislation.

            The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 (S.407). The bill would increase the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, provide additional compensation for dependents, increase the clothing allowance for certain disabled adult children, and increase dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children at the same cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment rate payable to recipients of Social Security.  This bill will now go to the President for his signature and if signed, will become effective on December 1, 2009.

            The Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009 (H.R. 2990) also passed the House.  Among other items, this bill includes a one-year fix which expands eligibility for concurrent receipt of both military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation for Chapter 61 disability retirees, regardless of their disability rating or years of service.

I also encourage all veterans to see if they are eligible to take advantage of the new GI Bill, which I strongly supported last year because it brings benefits in line with what returning veterans received after World War II. The VA recently began accepting and processing applications for this great program to provide increased educational benefits for all those who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, which includes guard and reserve members that have served on active duty.  For more detailed information about this benefit and eligibility requirements, you can visit www.gibill.va.gov.

Join me on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

Quick note to let you know that I now have channels and pages set up on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to help me continue to communicate what’s happening in the nation’s capital and around the Second District. Click on the icons below to head to those pages and I hope you consider subscribing to the channels.

Click to View Congressman Greg Walden's YouTube Channel

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Crater Lake investment

Bipartisan work between myself and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, (D-OR), has won House approval of a federal investment to design a new state-of-the-art Visitor Education Center at the rim of Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake, as we all know, is one of Oregon’s great natural treasures and it deserves to have visitor facilities worthy of its spectacular scenery. But it’s also a major economic driver for southern Oregon, with nearly 500,000 annual visitors contributing over $30 million per year to the region’s economy.

The investment still has to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President.

Congratulations to our art competition winners

I am happy to announce that Kristen Eisenbraum of Long Creek has been selected as the winner Oregon’s Second Congressional District in this year’s Congressional Art Competition, An Artistic Discovery. Kristen, a homeschooled student, will have her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

The Congressional Art Competition is a nationwide program for students to showcase their artistic abilities and highlight the importance of art education. The contest is open to high school students, and the winners were selected by a panel of college art professors.

Here I am with Kristen and her artwork, an oil on canvas piece titled “Watching,” right above us.


Tianna Hyde, a senior at Henley High School, was selected as runner-up for the district. Tianna’s charcoal and graphite piece titled Binding will hang for one year in my eastern Oregon office in La Grande.

Brynn Hughes, a sophomore at Grant Union High School, was selected as second runner-up. Brynn’s colored pencil piece titled Summer Maiko will be displayed for one year in the central Oregon office in Bend.

Chloe Goodwin, a senior at The Dalles Wahtonka High School, was selected as third runner-up for the district. Chloe’s colored pencil piece titled Breaking Free will be displayed for one year in our Capitol office.

Jessica Linman, a sophomore at Henley High School, was selected as fourth runner-up for the district.  Jessica’s oil pastels piece titled Penny will be displayed for one year in our southern Oregon office.

Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated. We have a lot of young talent in our district, and this contest is a reminder of that every year.

New addition to the eastern Oregon office

There’s a new face in the eastern Oregon district office in La Grande: Wade Foster, a recent graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in environmental economics, policy and management. Wade grew up in the ranching community of Lake County and has always retained a strong interest in agriculture and natural resources.

Wade proved himself to be a dedicated and valuable member of the team during an internship in the Washington, D.C. office earlier this year. I am confident he will bring the same enthusiasm to eastern Oregon and serve the residents of the Second District well.

He’ll be specializing in helping constituents work with agriculture-related federal agencies, but will be handling a wide scope of other issues as well. You can get a hold of Wade in the eastern Oregon office at (541) 624-2400.

Now is as good a time as any to remind you of the other Second District offices, where we stand ready to help on federal issues and programs:  the southern Oregon office in Medford at (541) 776-4646, the central Oregon office in Bend at (541) 389-4408, and the Washington, D.C. office at (202) 228-6730.

On the road again

After the vote wrapped up on the energy tax bill on Friday, I flew straight back to Oregon to complete my 372nd round trip, got to Hood River around 2 a.m., grabbed a couple hours of sleep, and was on the road again to central Oregon to visit the Pi Ume Sha celebration in Warm Springs, discuss the current economic climate with business leaders in Madras and also participate in the grand opening of Mid Oregon Credit Union. To cap off the evening, I attended the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night at the 64th Crooked River Round-Up, a great event to help benefit breast cancer research.

Congress takes a one week break this week so members have the opportunity to get back to their districts to connect with local communities.  This morning I head off to eastern Oregon with public meetings in Heppner, Hermiston, La Grande, Enterprise, and back in Hood River Thursday.

That’s all for now. If you would like to unsubscribe from this mailing, simply reply and type the word "unsubscribe" in the subject box.

Best regards,


Greg Walden

P.S. And remember to sign up as a friend on my Facebook site!


 6/30/09 Newsletter

Contact Me

I always look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to contact me at any time.  


Bend, OR
1051 NW Bond St.
Bend, OR 97701
Fax: 541-389-4452

La Grande, OR
1211 Washington Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850
Fax: 541-624-2402

Medford, OR
843 East Main Street, Ste 400
Medford, OR 97504
Fax: 541-779-0204

Washington, DC
2352 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Fax: 202-225-5774

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              Page Updated: Wednesday July 01, 2009 03:35 AM  Pacific

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