October 04, 2017

Wyden Pushes to Protect Public Lands, Boost Women-Owned Businesses in Senate Budget

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of a Thursday session to negotiate a Senate version of the congressional budget, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., filed two amendments this week to protect public lands and boost opportunities for women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

One of Wyden’s amendments to the Senate budget bill this week would take the first step to allow Congress to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is critical to protecting public lands and providing access to outdoor recreation for Americans.  

Oregon has received $382,728,920 in LWCF funding since the program began in 1965. Despite the program’s success, the FY17 omnibus cut LWCF funding by $50 million, or more than 11 percent.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an economic booster shot for rural communities across the country and a great way to protect our outdoor treasures for all Americans to enjoy,” Wyden said.

Another of Wyden’s amendments would allow Congress to provide more funding for the Women’s Business Centers program, which connects women business owners to training and capital to start up and run successful small businesses.

“Women entrepreneurs across Oregon and nationwide, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, are having trouble getting the capital they need to start up and run small businesses,” Wyden said. “My amendment would help level the playing field by improving access to training and counseling and financing opportunities that Women’s Business Centers offer.”

Wyden also supported the inclusion of three provisions in the underlying bill that will budget for priorities that are critical to rural counties, including the Secure Rural Schools and Payments In Lieu of Taxes programs and wildfires. However, in a statement last week, Wyden noted the budget resolution would give Republicans broad leeway to move forward on drilling in the Arctic National Refuge, constructing a border wall, diverting taxpayer funding from public schools and protecting bankers over American consumers.

Wyden is a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee and the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.