Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Oregon U.S. Congressman Greg Walden Congressional Connection


Dear Friend,

The House returned to work last week and Republicans elected their leadership team for the next Congress. I’m honored that my colleagues unanimously chose me to serve as the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

No member of Congress from Oregon—of either party—has served in an elected leadership position in decades. The position helps me have a greater say when it comes to working for the people of southern, central, and eastern Oregon. As I always say, I’d rather be on the court executing plays than sitting on the bench.

This new leadership post puts me at the table taking an Oregon and Northwest perspective as Congress makes decisions. In fact, two other of my colleagues from the west—Kevin McCarthy from Bakersfield, California, and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers from Spokane, Washington—were also elected to leadership. That means the west holds three of the top five Republican leadership posts in the House.

Working together to avert the “fiscal cliff”

Work has resumed on coming up with a bipartisan alternative to going off the so called “fiscal cliff.”

The combination of tax hikes and arbitrary spending cuts to important domestic and defense priorities could, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, push our economy back into a recession.

If Congress doesn’t act, taxes will go up an average of $3,205 per tax return in Oregon, according to one study. Another study found that hundreds of thousands of American jobs—including 8,800 in Oregon—will be lost.

With Oregon’s unemployment rate stubbornly stuck above the national average, Oregon families can’t afford another recession, higher unemployment, or higher taxes.

If there’s a mandate coming out of the election, it’s a mandate to work together. We must come together to find common ground to stop our government from going over the fiscal cliff and to begin to solve the federal government’s budget crisis.

Part of the way to do this is by reforming our tax code to close loopholes, lower rates, and spur economic growth. Our tax code is way too complex and bloated. Citizens and businesses spend over six billion hours and over $160 billion per year trying to navigate it—time and money that should be spent tending to their families and businesses.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can make it simpler and create jobs. The tax reform that President Reagan signed in 1986 created thousands of new jobs and paved the way for the economic growth of the 1990’s. We can do that again.

Will doing this be easy? No. If this work were easy, we would have done it already. But America has always risen to the challenge and met it. I know that we can do so again.

Ensuring a level playing field for Oregon farmers and businesses and increasing exports to create jobs

Last week, I supported a bill to boost American exports to Russia—a plan that passed the U.S. House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, the legislation will allow American farmers, small businesses, and manufacturers greater access to Russian markets and the opportunity to compete fairly in the global marketplace and create jobs here at home in Oregon.

Earlier this year, Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), an organization of 157 countries that governs global trade. In order for U.S. exporters to take full advantage of growing markets and reduced tariffs in Russia, Congress has to reverse a now obsolete Cold War-era law we have on the books.

This legislation accomplishes that, ensuring that Russia will not be allowed to impose tariffs on American goods while products from other WTO countries could enter the Russian marketplace with greater ease. In order to join the WTO, Russia had to make favorable trade concessions, including reducing tariffs on pears and cherries from 10% to 5%.

Passage of this law would allow Oregon farmers and businesses to increase exports to Russia. Exports from Oregon to Russia totaled about $105 million in 2011 and directly supported approximately 250 jobs. If this legislation is passed, those numbers are expected to grow.

I was pleased to hear support for this bill from Oregon’s agriculture and business groups. The Oregon Farm Bureau told me that the bill will provide “significant commercial opportunities for U.S. agriculture,” especially Oregon beef.

Oregon potato growers told me that over 50% of all potatoes grown in Oregon are exported to other countries, so easing access to Russia will help them export more potatoes. And Oregon fruit growers told me that yearly Pacific Northwest tree fruit exports to Russia now exceed $20 million, and that this bill would support Oregon pear and cherry growers.

I support greater trade with other countries to create jobs in Oregon. But when a country is cheating in the marketplace, they should be called out on it. This month—after urging from me and the entire Oregon congressional delegation—the U.S. Department of Commerce announced they would investigate illegal Chinese subsidies to plywood manufacturers.

A coalition of U.S. plywood manufacturers—including Columbia Forest Products in Klamath Falls—brought a complaint that China was subsidizing its plywood industry in violation of international trade agreements. Because of the artificially low price of Chinese plywood, American manufacturers are priced out of the market and unable to compete.

The Department of Commerce found a “reasonable indication” that this was occurring, and is now proceeding with an investigation which could result in penalties for the Chinese plywood imports. I joined the entire Oregon Congressional Delegation in applauding the decision by the Department of Commerce.

Making sure the National Guard has what it needs to keep Oregon safe

Earlier this year, I supported a plan in the House to stop the Pentagon from disposing of certain air assets for the National Guard until a suitable replacement could be found. This includes the C-23 “Sherpa,” a cargo plane used extensively by the Oregon National Guard. The C-23’s are used here at home for wildfire fighting, and flew more than 47,000 hours in Iraq. The leadership of the Oregon National Guard told me, “simply put, we need these aircraft!”

However, the Department of the Army has signaled it plans to go ahead with retiring the C-23 even without a suitable replacement. Last week, I joined 43 of my House and Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, to write to the Secretary of the Army to ask him to keep the C-23’s operational until a suitable replacement could be found. Click here to read the letter.

I’ll continue to work closely with the other members of the Oregon delegation and the Oregon National Guard to make sure our men and women in uniform have what they need to complete their missions at home and abroad.

Cutting through red tape to get seniors and veterans the benefits they’ve earned

I continue to stand ready to help people having difficulty with non-responsive federal agencies. Sometimes a push from me can cut through red tape and get people like veterans or seniors the benefits they’ve earned.

A resident of Phoenix, Oregon visited my office last week to report that he was finally able to get nearly $10,000 in retroactive disability benefits he hadn’t been receiving due to a Social Security Administration error. After he fought with Social Security for nearly two years, my office got involved and this Oregonian was finally able to get results.

A veteran from Ontario contacted me recently to get assistance over an appeal he’d filed for a denied Veterans Administration claim. After months of effort by my office, he got word recently that he would be receiving a retroactive payment of over $20,000 from the VA.

If you or someone you know needs help with cutting through red tape with federal agencies, please let me know by calling my office in Oregon toll-free at 800-533-3303. I’ll do whatever I can to get results for you.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon's Second District




In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Sunday November 25, 2012 11:43 PM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2012, All Rights Reserved