August 10, 2021

Wyden Secures Priorities for Oregon and the West in Senate-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Senate includes Wyden’s power grid resiliency provisions, wildfire risk mitigation funding, Western drought and Tribal water assistance, and funding for essential services in rural communities

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation that includes essential priorities for Oregon and the West from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The bill now advances to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

"For far too long, the phrase ‘infrastructure week’ was nothing but a cruel joke for communities throughout Oregon and the American West needing significant investments to deal with catastrophic wildfires, severe drought, hard-hit rural economies and more during the pandemic and well before that historic crisis,” Wyden said. "I’m gratified the Senate acted with resolve today to deliver help to families and job-creating small businesses. I’ll keep working in a similar vein in the upcoming reconciliation package to deliver on equally-important priorities to ensure climate action, build a strong and fair economy with better jobs, expand affordable health care and make it easier to support a family.”

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed by the Senate today includes the following measures:

  • $5 billion for key provisions of Wyden’s Disaster Safe Power Grid Act to secure the power grid from extreme weather and natural disasters to prevent severe wildfires; 
  • $5 billion to help farmers, ranchers and communities respond to drought;
  • $250 million for Wyden's Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act to help improve drinking water quality and services for tribal communities in Oregon and nationwide. While the Senate has previously passed Wyden's legislation, its inclusion in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation brings it closer to being signed into law.
  • $162 million for Klamath habitat restoration work through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service secured by Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley;
  • Three additional years of funding ($290 million per year) for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which dedicates funding for rural communities facing budget shortfalls to address essential needs like schools and emergency services;
  • $6 billion for wildfire risk mitigation and forest health treatments, including an additional $100 million secured by Wyden for the Collaborative Forestry Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), as well as a Wyden provision to clarify that CFLRP funding can be used for existing projects. The provision will ensure existing collaboratives, like the Lakeview Collaborative that has been facing the Bootleg Fire, can get access to $100 million of additional Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program funding; and
  • $65 billion to connect every American to high-quality, reliable broadband internet access, including in rural and mountainous Oregon communities, supported by Wyden. This critical investment includes over $14 billion dollars to update and extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which Wyden authored in December 2020 to help keep Oregonians online during the COVID-19 epidemic.