Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

OP-ED COLUMN: “A ‘Better Way’ forward for Oregon and America”

August 3, 2016

OP-ED COLUMN: “A ‘Better Way’ forward for Oregon and America”

By Rep. Greg Walden

As I listen to people during meetings throughout our state (I recently held my 53rd town hall since the beginning of last year), Oregonians too often voice the same concerns: an overreaching federal government that ignores our pleas, overregulates our lives and depresses job growth in our communities. 

That’s why I put forward legislation that positively addresses the problems we face.  Seven of my proposals have passed the U.S. House so far this term—most with unanimous support—including my bills to help bring commercial air service back to Klamath Falls, provide needed funding for bridges in the Columbia Gorge, and to improve rural internet service for consumers.

Within the past year, Congress has given law enforcement and drug prevention advocates new tools to help fight addiction in our communities. We’ve passed plans to help veterans get better health care in the communities where they live. Seniors no longer face a planned drastic spike in Medicare premiums or a cut for Social Security disability recipients. A long-term transportation funding plan and a major education reform proposal have also become law.

While I’m proud of these successes, there is still much to be done to push back against an overreaching federal government. That’s why House Republicans have proposed a new agenda—called “A Better Way”—to offer solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face in Oregon and America. I encourage you to go read it yourself on my website: Some highlights of our plan include:

Growing jobs and the economy: Too many small businesses, farmers, and ranchers in Oregon face overbearing federal regulations that are often written by agencies far away in Washington, D.C. Last year alone, federal regulations cost the national economy about $1.89 trillion in lost growth and productivity. Our plan makes sure the regulatory regime works for us—not against us. For instance, we’d require that the Congress, accountable to the people, approve all major regulations. Our plan would also help boost affordable, reliable energy and preserve internet innovation so that jobs can flourish.

Combating poverty: Fifty years ago, the U.S. government launched the “War on Poverty.”  American taxpayers have invested $22 trillion since then, yet you are just as likely to stay poor if you were born poor today as you were then. And according to a state report last year, Oregon’s poverty rate is higher than the national average (and the rate is even higher in many rural counties). The current system too often replaces work, instead of encouraging it. There’s a better way to help the over 46 million Americans who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Our plan offers solutions to expand opportunity and reward work.

Implementing real health reform: The new health care law, known as Obamacare, is driving up insurance costs and reducing choices for too many Oregonians. The state wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on Cover Oregon and now is mired in costly litigation.  Meanwhile, people are left to cope with more insurers leaving the market, and two new health “co-ops” set up by the law have already folded. There’s a better way to give everyone access to quality, affordable health care. Our plan would replace Obamacare with a new one that provides consumers more choices, lowers costs, focuses on curing deadly diseases like cancer, and strengthens and preserves Medicare.

Our “Better Way” plan upholds our Constitutional rights and makes government more accountable and transparent to the people. We have ideas to boost our national security, combat terrorism, and ensure our troops and veterans have what they need. And we propose reforming the nation’s tax code to make it simpler and fairer for Oregon families and small businesses.

I’d encourage you to go read the entire plan, with hundreds of ideas to solve problems in our communities, on my website at There, you can let me know what you think of these ideas or offer some of your own. Together, there’s a better way to get Oregon and America back on track.

Greg Walden represents Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which covers 20 counties in southern, central, and eastern Oregon.

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