March 24, 2015

Wyden: Glad House Leadership Decided to Stop Playing Politics with Rural Oregon Safety Net

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement on the importance of extending the Secure Rural Schools and County Self-Determination Act.

“It is good news the House Leadership has decided to stop playing politics with the safety net for Oregon counties. Their decision is a concrete recognition that linking the safety net to unsustainable and unacceptable logging practices can never become law,” Wyden said.
“As the author of the bipartisan Secure Rural Schools program, I'm pleased to report progress in the Senate: an 18 to 4 vote in favor of a three-year reauthorization of SRS in the Budget Committee and a bipartisan bill with Senator Crapo for three-year reauthorization and restoration of PILT. I will continue to pursue at every opportunity and on every piece of must-pass legislation, this lifeline for Oregon counties.”

Wyden successfully attached an SRS reauthorization to the Senate budget last week, which is a significant first step to renewing the expired Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Secure Rural Schools provided more than $107 million to 32 Oregon counties last year. His budget amendment also supports the extension of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The amendment passed in the Senate Budget Committee on a bipartisan, 18 to 4 vote. 

Wyden and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced a bill to extend the county payments program last month. Wyden authored the original Secure Rural Schools program in 2000 with then-Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. Since then it has brought more than $2.8 billion to rural Oregon counties.