• Wyden Offers 10 Reasons Why the GOP Budget Hurts Oregonians

    Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today listed ten reasons why the Republican joint budget resolution, which cleared the Senate earlier this week, would shortchange Oregonians and hurt the state’s economy in a variety of ways.

    “This partisan budget plan fundamentally ignores the economics of this country in 2015,” Wyden said.  “Oregonians and Americans across the country are walking on an economic tightrope, trying to climb the ladder of opportunity and give their kids a brighter future. The climb isn’t always easy, and the budget before Congress fails to help make it easier in a number of alarming ways.”

    1. Costs Oregon jobs. By pulling billions of dollars out of Oregon’s economy, the Republican budget could cost Oregon 28,600 jobs by 2017 due to cuts in infrastructure, education, and scientific research.
    2. Bad for rural communities. The Republican budget risks ending the safety net for rural Oregon law-enforcement, schools and roads – even though Sen. Wyden’s Secure Rural Schools program to support rural communities has bipartisan support, the Republican budget links that critical funding to an unsustainable increase in federal logging.
    3.  Hurts middle-class taxpayers. The Republican budget once again leaves middle-class taxpayers in the lurch. In fact, Sen. Wyden’s amendment to preserve and expand tax credits that support work, family, and obtaining a higher education – and passed the Senate by a 73-27 margin – was dropped from the final budget agreement by Republicans. That would mean higher taxes for millions of middle-class families.
    4.  Revokes health insurance protections for women. Under the Republican budget, American health insurance would revert to a time when pregnancy was a pre-existing condition, women faced higher premiums simply because of their gender, and birth control often wasn’t included in health insurance. 
    5. Cuts Medicaid to the bone. The Republican budget includes painful, arbitrary cuts to health programs that protect the most vulnerable in Oregon, including seniors who rely on long-term nursing care.
    6. Fails to Protect Social Security.  The Republican budget does not include Sen. Wyden’s amendment to protect Social Security by stopping legislation that would cut benefits, raise the retirement age, or privatize Social Security that won majority support in the Senate.
    7. Pulls back support for local schools. Assistance for schools in need would be cut off or limited by $11.3 million in Oregon over the next 10 years, which means fewer school and students served, and job losses for educators.
    8. Stops investment in critical research. Oregon loses roughly $5.7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation under the Republican budget, resulting in fewer awards to support research that boosts the economy.
    9. Limits workforce training and job resources. The Republican budget puts nearly 27,500 workers in Oregon at risk of losing access job training or search services that are needed to help them stay competitive in tough global markets.
    10. Places higher education further out of reach. By cutting Pell Grants by $90 billion nationwide over the next decade, the Republican budget will make earning a college degree harder for many of the 114,000 students pursuing a higher education in Oregon by making them borrow more or forcing them to forgo going to school at all.
  • Ron supports Oregon’s export economy as a jobs creator

    In between town halls last weekend in Linn and Douglas counties that focused largely on the economy and jobs, Ron had several media interviews that covered exports, oil train safety and health care for veterans.

    Ron sat down on Friday in Portland for an extended interview with KGW’s “Straight Talk” and then in Salem with the editorial board of the Statesman Journal.

    In both settings, many of the questions centered on Ron’s work with President Obama to boost U.S. exports in the Pacific Rim, a key priority given Oregon’s location.

    “There are going to be a billion middle-class households in the developing world by 2025,” Ron said on Straight Talk. “That means they’re going to have a lot of money to spend. And one of the things we know about exports in our state is often they pay better wages than do the non-trade jobs.

    “So if you’ve got middle-class people around the world who are going to spend money, let’s have them buy the Oregon brand,’’ Ron said. “Let’s make things here, Let’s grow things here. Let’s add value to them here. And let’s ship them somewhere.”

    He also spoke about exports with television news stations in Eugene and Medford with an additional spotlight on his oil trains safety legislation and on his letter to the Veterans Administration urging better care and benefits for veterans who were on C-123 aircraft still contaminated with Agent Orange after the Vietnam War.

    “We’re trying to make sure that our vets who got exposed to Agent Orange stateside,” Ron told KOBI TV in Medford, “can get good quality health care at the VA … When the vets honor us by wearing the uniform of the United States, we have got to be there with good health care for them.”

    Ron said his oil trains bill takes a market-based approach and follows in the wake of safety concerns expressed by local first responders at a Lane County roundtable he and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) held last year.

    “The focus has got to be to get these unsafe cars off the rails,” Ron told KVAL TV in Eugene. “The reality is we’re seeing some serious accidents.”

    While in Eugene, Ron also stopped by the University of Oregon’s spring football game on Saturday. He got to catch up with many of his fellow Ducks alumni--including one very notable recent grad in Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

  • On Earth Day

    On the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, I remain as committed as ever to protecting our environment. A large part of that commitment means ensuring the United States is raising the bar for environmental rules around the world.

    As Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell mentioned last week, trade negotiations allow the United States to hold other countries accountable for common-sense environmental protections.

    The reality is, if you care about the environment, you care about trade. That’s why, last week, I introduced a series of trade bills that lock in stronger commitments on the environment in our trade agreements, directing the administration and future administrations to address illegal wildlife trafficking and a host of other environmental priorities from wetlands protection to marine pollution.

    The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act requires that those commitments be backed with the strongest enforcement tools, including the possibility of trade sanctions.

    The proposed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, for the first time, directs that America’s trade agreements require trading partners to adopt and maintain core labor standards and environmental protections, and further directs that those commitments be backed by the strongest enforcement tools.  It includes a first ever directive on ensuring implementation of trade commitments that advance human rights. In addition, this TPA legislation states unequivocally that no trade agreement can override U.S. law without congressional approval.

    President Obama has said this bill is needed to deliver Trans Pacific Partnership, which the White House says will address illegal fishing and fishery subsidies that result in overfishing, deal with illegal trafficking in wildlife and illegal logging, and cut tariffs on environmental goods, including everything from solar panels to smog detectors.

    Specifically, the Trans Pacific Partnership will eliminate burdensome tariffs on all environmental goods, which range as high as 30% in TPP markets, and will address discrimination and market access restrictions facing U.S. environmental services providers. This would create new opportunities for Oregon manufacturers of environmental goods, such as Plasti-Fab in Tualatin, E1 in Bend and Met One in Grants Pass.

    Earth Day puts a much-needed spotlight on the vital need to protect our environment, and I will continue working on ways to ensure environmental protections remain paramount today and every other day of the year.