Continuing our efforts to reduce spending and grow the economy
Continuing our efforts to reduce spending and grow the economy
Tomorrow, the House will vote on a historic plan to keep the government open while continuing our mission to reduce spending and grow our economy and jobs. This plan reduces spending below 2009 levels—below even what it was when President Obama took office.
This year will mark the first time since the Korean War that spending has been cut four years in a row—a total of $165 billion since 2010. Even the Washington Post admitted that “Republicans are winning the broader battle over discretionary spending.”
The bill also includes provisions to cut spending and increase oversight at out-of-control federal bureaucracies like the EPA and IRS. It denies the President’s request for increased funding for the health care law, and even cuts $1 billion out of one of Obamacare’s slush funds.
Our men and women in uniform benefit as well. It fully funds a 1% pay raise for our troops and increases focus on military health like traumatic brain injuries and prosthetics. It restores the full annual cost-of-living increase for 63,000 medically retired military personnel. And it includes a comprehensive initiative to end the disgraceful claims backlog at the VA by 2015.
For more information on the plan from the House Appropriations Committee, please click here.
This plan is just one more step in my efforts to grow our economy, reduce wasteful spending, and balance the federal budget. I will continue to keep you updated on these important efforts, and I urge you to continue to let me know your thoughts by emailing me here.
- FY14 Omnibus Summary (01/14/14 12:17 PM PST)
Recognizing Curtis Martin
HON. GREG WALDEN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013
RECOGNIZING CURTIS MARTIN FOR HIS LIFE-LONG EFFORTS TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURE AND RANCHING
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize my good friend Curtis Martin for his life-long efforts to support agriculture and ranching, which are so important to jobs and the economy in rural Oregon. Over the past two years, Curtis has done a tremendous job serving as the president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association. As his term as president comes to an end, I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to his leadership.
Before and during his service as president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, Curtis served in several capacities locally to the benefit of farmers and ranchers. He has been a member of the Powder Basin Watershed Committee, a Director on the Union Soil and Water Conservation District and President of the Powder Valley Water Control District.
During his tenure as Oregon Cattlemen's Association President, Curtis has worked tirelessly to represent Oregon's livestock industry across the state. During the summer of 2012, wildfires devastated over one million acres of rangeland and forest across Oregon, affecting many ranchers' livelihoods along the way. Curtis took the lead in coordinating a relief effort, helping raise over $200,000 in donations for ranchers who had lost cattle and pasture due to the fires. In a further response to the fires, Curtis established the Restore Everything Strategically Through Organized Response (RESTOR) Task Force, bringing together federal agencies, the State of Oregon, local governments and the Oregon congressional delegation to channel resources and assistance to affected livestock communities. RESTOR also put forth proactive solutions to reduce the frequency and intensity of wildfires, and improve government and community responses when fires occur. Federal agencies continue to work towards implementing several of the task force's recommendations.
Curtis also led the Oregon Cattlemen's Association Oregon Habitat Monitoring Initiative, pulling together a diverse group of stakeholders from federal and state agencies, Oregon State University, private consultants and other industry groups to develop a cooperative monitoring standard for producers on the ground. This effort resulted in the current development of the Oregon Rangeland Monitoring Guide, so that livestock producers can easily monitor their pastures and supplement federal agency data supporting public land grazing allotments.
Curtis was raised on a ranch in Vale, Oregon, on the far eastern edge of the state. After high school, he moved full time into the family's ranch operation, building fence, piping water and moving cattle on horseback. By 1978, Curtis had married his wife Cheryl and moved to North Powder, where Cheryl's family has roots back to the Oregon Trail pioneers who first settled the Baker Valley in the 1860s.
In 1983, Curtis and Cheryl bought a ranch in North Powder, where they now center their ranching operation. Curtis has said that upon buying the property, it was so run down it was only suitable for producing ``weeds and ground squirrels.'' Together, they turned their efforts to rehabilitating the property to a state fit for raising cattle and have been successful in their efforts. Curtis and Cheryl treasure their four sons and six grandchildren. They take great pride in their family ranch operation and in seeing yet another generation involved in the ranch and learning the lifestyle that means so much to them.
I'd like to offer a special thank you to Curtis and Cheryl for their friendship and guidance over the years.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Curtis Martin for his tireless dedication to agriculture and ranching in Oregon as president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.
A common-sense budget that cuts more spending and averts another government shutdown
Today the House will vote on a plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to reduce wasteful government spending by $23 billion more and when passed will avert another government shutdown.
This agreement is not broad in scope, but with divided government in Washington, D.C., it’s at least a step in the right direction of getting the federal government’s fiscal house in order while avoiding more “mini-crises” in the nation’s capital. It reduces waste, fraud, and abuse, tackles some corporate welfare, and reforms programs that have been spending tax dollars on auto-pilot without regular scrutiny.
To watch my video message on the plan, please click here.
In total, the agreement reduces the deficit by $23 billion without raising taxes. It requires users of some government services to pay more of their fair share, and thereby reduces taxpayer subsidies and the potential for more taxpayer bailouts.
Here are just a few of the common-sense cuts and reforms in the plan:
- Stop sending government checks to ineligible criminals.
- Stop sending government checks to dead people.
- Stop Medicaid payments that dead-beat parents and insurance companies should cover (saves $1.4 billion).
- End favoritism for certain student loan providers (saves $3 billion).
- End some taxpayer subsidies for energy companies (saves $790 million).
- Require private companies to cover more of the cost of guaranteeing their pension benefits so taxpayers won’t have to bail them out (saves $7.9 billion).
- Extend for two more years the limits on auto-pilot spending programs (saves $28 billion).
This plan ensures the government will not shut down in January, allowing Congress to remain focused on other important issues, such as oversight of the health care law, the IRS and other laws and agencies that at times seem to run out of control. Meanwhile, the private sector will have the more certainty and as a result our economy gain steam while we continue to work at reducing the size, scope, and cost of the federal government.
While this agreement is a step forward, Congress clearly has much more work to do to balance the nation’s budget, (I will continue to work for a balanced budget amendment) just like Oregon families do every month. I’d like to hear from you about what steps you think Congress should take to balance the budget. Click here to send me an email to let me know your thoughts. And please feel free to share this with your friends and family in Oregon so I can get their input as well.
I’ll continue to keep you updated as I work with my colleagues to grow our economy and get the nation’s fiscal house in order. It’s an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.
Welcoming an "Honor Flight" to the World War II Memorial
Welcoming an “Honor Flight” to the World War II Memorial
October 14, 2013
Last weekend, I had the tremendous privilege of greeting an “Honor Flight” of veterans from Oregon who travelled to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial. It’s always a privilege to welcome members of the “Greatest Generation” to the Nation’s Capital.
Although the open-air Memorial has been closed by the Administration during the government shutdown, the National Park Police allowed the veterans and their families to enter. My colleague from Oregon, Rep. Peter DeFazio, was also on hand to greet the veterans and present them with American flags flown over the Capitol. Each of these men and women who served is a hero, and it was an honor to greet them and help ensure they could visit their Memorial.
You might notice that I’m tieless in the second photo…one veteran liked my patriotic tie so much, I gave it too him!
Working to reopen important parts of our government
As work on a broader solution to the government’s spending problem continues, the House continues to pass bipartisan bills to reopen areas of our federal government and fund programs that both parties agree are essential.
I was especially troubled by news this week that the Pentagon would not pay death benefits to families of service members killed overseas, like Cody Patterson, an Army Ranger from Philomath, who gave his life in Afghanistan defending our nation. I believe that the Department of Defense had the authority to continue to pay these benefits under the Pay Our Military Act. But last week, the House voted unanimously to ensure that death benefits to families of fallen troops will continue to be disbursed during the government shutdown. I’m glad that the Senate quickly passed this as well, and it was signed by the President last week.
Unfortunately, little progress has been made on other bills to fund important government priorities. Since the shutdown began, I’ve supported plans to pay for veterans’ programs and the National Guard, reopen National Parks like Crater Lake, continue lifesaving research at the National Institute of Health, and make sure FEMA has what it needs to respond to natural disasters. For a full list of these bills, visit: http://www.speaker.gov/senatemustact.
All passed the House with strong bipartisan support. All are now sitting in the Senate, waiting for a vote. The Senate should move quickly to take up these plans and fund these essential services while talks continue on a broader solution.
Fiscal talks continue
Reducing the deficit and growing our economy
October 13, 2013
In your family or your job, when you have a disagreement, how to you handle it? You sit down and talk, and find a solution that works for both sides.
On Thursday, I joined other leaders in the House in meeting with the President and the Vice President in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for about 90 minutes. It was a frank, useful, and candid conversation, and I wish it had happened weeks ago. We presented the President with a proposal that we felt met him half way, including a plan to address the debt ceiling and reopen the government. But it also included a call for serious, fruitful negotiations to reduce the deficit and America’s ever-growing national debt.
After the meeting, my colleague Jeb Hensarling and I talked to Sean Hannity about what took place. To watch my interview, click here. I also talked to the Bulletin about the meeting, which you can read here.
We must do this. We must reduce spending and get Washington spending under control. We’ve made progress in the past few years. Because of our efforts in the House, federal spending has gone down for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War. The Budget Control Act from 2011—which came out of budget negotiations with the President and Senate—was the largest spending reduction bill of the last 25 years, resulting in $630 billion in savings over five years and not a dime in tax increases. We’ve made some progress, but there is still much work to be done.
Unfortunately, within 24 hours of meeting with us, the President basically rejected our offer and moved on to talk with Senate Republicans, before their proposal was rejected, too. As I write this, the focus has shifted to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to see if they can find common ground that can pass both houses of Congress and get approval from the President.
As you might imagine, people I’m hearing from are expressing strong feelings about the situation…strong on both sides. Stay tuned.
I want to hear from you on Syria
The President has asked Congress for authority to use military force against the Assad regime in Syria in response to allegations of the use of chemical weapons against civilians. I believe that the President and his team need to fully make their case to Congress and the American people regarding his plan. We need to learn what we can anticipate happening after whatever proposed action is taken. The Assad regime and its allies will surely have a response. It's not clear what we may be getting America into.
The U.S. House will soon vote on this very important issue, and I’d like your input before the vote.
What do you think the United States should do about the situation in Syria?
1. The United States should take military action, but it should be limited to air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks.
2. The United States should take broad military action by intervening in whatever way is necessary to stop the Assad regime.
The United States should provide weapons and other assistance to the forces inside Syria opposing the government, but should not intervene militarily.
3. The United States should provide only humanitarian assistance to the civilians injured or forced from their homes.
4. The United States should take none of these actions.
5. I'm unsure what the United States' response should be.
I work hard to get input from citizens of all 20 counties in the Second District on many different issues that Oregonians are concerned about. America’s role in the world has come up at many of the 23 town hall meetings I’ve held in the Second District in 2013, in several of the telephone town hall meetings I’ve held, and in countless emails, phone calls, letters, and Facebook messages that come into my office.
Thank you for taking the time to give me your thoughts. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as this important situation unfolds. It’s an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.
Greg Walden statement on President's announcement on Syria
Greg Walden statement on President’s announcement on Syria
September 1, 2013
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) released the following statement in response to the President’s remarks on Syria:
"The President needs to make his case to Congress and to the American people regarding his plan, and what we can anticipate happening after whatever proposed military action is taken. The Assad regime and its allies will surely have a response. It's not clear what we may be getting America into."
MEWA Letter to President Obama
MEWA Letter to President Obama
Click to read:
Bipartisan proposals to support our servicemembers and veterans
Bipartisan proposals to support our servicemembers and veterans
Over the past two weeks, the House has passed—with my strong support—two major pieces of bipartisan legislation to support our servicemembers and veterans. On June 4, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill to fund veterans’ programs for the coming year. This bill ensures that the VA has the resources it needs to provide our veterans with the services and care they have earned.
Too often, I hear from Oregon veterans and their families who are waiting too long for the VA to process their disability benefits and compensation claims. In all, Federal News Radio reports that 559,000 veterans nationwide are awaiting decisions from a VA that still processes claims by paper. This is unacceptable. We need to put an end to this backlog NOW, and this bill sends that message loud and clear.
The bill includes funding to help clean up the backlog of claims and force the federal government to finally improve electronic record keeping. And if these provisions don’t get the attention of VA leadership, this will: the bill imposes a 25% pay cut for senior VA officials if the number of backlogged cases is not reduced by 40% by July 1, 2014.
Building on this work for veterans, last week the House passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. This bill provides our nation’s armed forces with the resources they need and gives our men and women in uniform the support they deserve. I am particularly pleased that this bill provides our servicemembers with a pay increase and takes significant steps to address the troubling number of sexual assault cases in the military. For more on this bipartisan bill, please click here.
When a service member or veteran needs help here at home, I do everything I can to help out, as I did for two World War II veterans in Oregon this month. The daughter of one veteran came to me after her father’s VA pension checks stopped coming. She tried to fix this problem on her own for almost three months before calling my office, and we were able to get the situation resolved in less than two weeks.
And last week, I helped Mr. Arlin Stafford, a former Army sergeant who was wounded in Saipan during World War II, obtain his Bronze Star—70 years later! Mr. Stafford’s wife Katherine contacted me for help in getting the medal. John Howard, a retired Navy Commander who works in our Medford office, presented the medal to Mr. Stafford in Rogue River last week. If you or a loved one needs help with a VA claim, obtaining a medal, or any other issue with the federal government, call my office in Oregon at 800-533-3303.
Honoring talented young artists in Oregon's Second District
Honoring talented young artists in Oregon’s Second District
Congratulations are in order to Emma Hughes, of John Day, for winning the 2013 Oregon Second Congressional District Art Competition. The nationwide competition is open each year to high school students across the country. Emma’s artwork (below), entitled Starry Eyed, will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.
Congratulations also to the runners up, Hannah Pereira and Lindsey Weymouth of John Day and Sadie Heron of Redmond. Their artwork will hang in my offices in La Grande and Bend. The contest opens up each year in the spring, so if you or someone you know might be interested, be sure to keep an eye on my art competition page for more details.
That’s all for now. Have a great week.