Year-in-Review: Greg Walden’s top seven legislative wins for Oregon in 2017
Year-in-Review: Greg Walden’s top seven legislative wins for Oregon in 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today released a list of top seven legislative wins for Oregon in 2017. Walden authored important bills that have been signed into law and passed in the House of Representatives this year to support America’s military and veterans, protect Oregon’s public lands and grow family wage jobs in local communities, modernize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), improve forest management to prevent catastrophic wildfire, and helped pass major tax reform to bring much-needed relief for middle class families in Oregon.
According to www.congress.gov, Walden leads the Oregon House delegation with 23 bills passed through the House of Representatives this year. Walden also leads the House delegation with five pieces of legislation sent to the President in 2017.
Walden has assisted over 1,200 Oregonians this year with problems they were having with federal agencies, including 500 veterans and military service members, and over 120 Oregonians with their Social Security and Medicare benefits. If you or someone you know is having difficulty with a federal agency such as the Veterans Administration (VA) or Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you can all Walden’s office toll free from Oregon at 800-533-3303.
Walden bill to protect Mt. Hood, boost family wage jobs sent to President’s desk
Bipartisan legislation authored by Oregon Reps. Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer, and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to help protect the local water source for the City of Hood River and upper Hood River Valley, while promoting economic growth and family wage jobs for the local communities, is heading to the President’s desk. The Mt. Hood-Cooper Spur Land Clarification Act passed the House of Representatives in February on a 415-1 vote, and passed the Senate in December. Walden has worked closely over the years with Rep. Earl Blumenauer to protect Oregon’s public lands around Mt. Hood and grow the local economy.
"Completing the Cooper Spur land exchange is key to protecting Crystal Springs, the water source for the City of Hood River and the upper Hood River Valley, while also encouraging economic and job growth around Mt. Hood,” Walden said. “These communities have waited nearly nine years for the Forest Service to complete the exchange Congress gave them 16 months to finish. This is long past due and I look forward to President Trump signing this bill into law so the job can finally get done.”
Mt. Hood land exchange heads to Trump’s desk
A long-delayed land swap on Mount Hood that sets out areas for commercial development and protected forest land has cleared Congress. The bill unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday night, Dec. 21, which means it’s headed to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law. The bipartisan legislation written by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Representatives Greg Walden, (R-Ore.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) was aimed at protecting and enhancing Oregon’s land conservation and recreation priorities on the mountain.
Greg Walden bill to ensure military access to lifesaving medical treatments signed into law
President Trump signed into law legislation introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to ensure the military has access to lifesaving medical treatments. Walden’s legislation (H.R. 4374) passed the House and Senate unanimously, and will amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to authorize additional emergency uses for medical products to reduce deaths and severity of injuries on the battlefield.
''Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for this country, and they deserve to have the earliest possible access to medical products that could save their lives on the battlefield,” said Walden in a speech on the House floor when the legislation passed the House in November. “In short, H.R. 4374 addresses the critical issue of military access to the newest available products by expanding the circumstances under which emergency use authorizations can be issued, and by establishing an expedited pathway to full approval of products that the Secretary of Defense requests.”
Walden resolution passed
President Trump signed House Resolution 4374, a piece of legislation introduced by Representative Greg Walden. The resolution amended a law that would allow for the use of unapproved medical products during a military emergency. It is intended to speed up development and review of medical products for military emergency use within 45 days.
Greg Walden bill to modernize Food and Drug Administration signed into law
President Trump signed Rep. Walden’s FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 into law in August. Walden’s legislation passed the House and Senate unanimously, and will help deliver new medical devices, treatments, and therapies to patients in Oregon and across the country. This bill reauthorizes and modernizes the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) critical medical product user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools it needs to more efficiently deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments to patients.
“This law will encourage new medical innovations, bring lower cost drugs to market faster, improve the regulatory review process for devices and treatments and, most importantly provide certainty to patients and the health industry,” said Walden.
Greg Walden helps pass landmark legislation to bring tax-relief to middle class Oregonians
Continuing his efforts to provide tax relief for middle-class families and boost job growth in Oregon, Rep. Walden voted to pass landmark tax reform through Congress in December. Walden applauded the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), as a win for hard-working Oregon taxpayers and job creators.
“The measure Congress will send to the President this week means that a hardworking family of four in eastern Oregon that earns about $50,000 a year -- which is the median household income in my district -- will receive a tax break of about $1,300 compared to the existing law. Instead of a bloated federal government taking and spending your money, I want families to keep more of what they earn. That’s $10,400 in lower federal income taxes over the next eight years for that one family,” Walden said.
Walden has heard from constituents across Oregon’s second district about the importance of this tax reform legislation. To read more about what people in Oregon are saying about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, please click here.
Oregon Farm Bureau: Tax reform will help agriculture
The Oregon Farm Bureau said the tax reform package passed by Congress and signed Friday by President Trump includes many provisions that will help Oregon's farm and ranch families. "This bill lowers taxes for the vast majority of our agricultural families," said Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue. Bushue pointed out that the bill simplifies rate structures and eliminates the death tax for estates under $11 million while maintaining annual indexing for inflation, which covers nearly all family ag operations.
Greg Walden leads forest management reform through House for fifth year in a row
For the fifth time in five years, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) voted in November to pass legislation to improve federal forest management and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that ravage Oregon and much of the West every year. The Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 2936), which Walden helped craft, addresses the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfire that scorched over 710,000 acres of land across Oregon this year.
“My intensity on this issue is almost that of the fires we fight,” said Walden. “We can reduce the size and intensity of fire up to 70 percent, if we do the kinds of projects that thin out the forests and allow us to better manage and be better stewards of our federal forests that are contemplated as a result of this legislation.”
Forest reform bill passes House
For the fifth time in as many years, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would expedite certain forest thinning projects to lower the risk of destructive wildfires across the country. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon) hailed it as a big day for the Northwest during a conference call with reporters, saying the bill not only solves the issue of “fire borrowing” but gives agencies more leeway to thin overcrowded and diseased forests.
Greg Walden bill to improve care for Oregon veterans passes House unanimously
The U.S. House of Representatives in June unanimously passed a plan co-authored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to improve the care Oregon’s veterans receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Walden worked with House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, Dr. Phil Roe, to introduce the VA Medical Scribes Pilot Act of 2017. Walden’s legislation would implement a pilot program for medical scribes at VA facilities, which will help unburden VA doctors and allow them to see more patients.
“Good news for Oregon veterans: the House passed legislation I co-authored with Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Dr. Phil Roe, that will allow veterans’ doctors to do what they do best -- spend more time taking care of veterans,” said Walden. “This legislation sets up a pilot program to try something that has worked successfully in the private sector -- having scribes work side-by-side with doctors, so that doctors can focus on the patient and scribes can focus on the paperwork.”
Guest Opinion: Bills would improve the VA for Oregon veterans
Veterans in Oregon and across the country deserve quality care in a timely manner when they go to the VA. Unfortunately, long wait times at many facilities have resulted in delayed access to essential health services, especially in rural and underserved areas in Oregon. We can and must solve this problem, and I’ve sponsored legislation to help. Let’s start by making sure the VA is adequately staffed with qualified medical providers, and that these providers are able to devote their undivided attention to serving those who’ve served our country.
Walden paves the way for self-driving cars
Rep. Walden, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, helped pass landmark legislation through the House of Representatives in September to pave the way for self-driving cars. Walden has led a bipartisan effort to advance self-driving vehicle technology to help make Oregon’s roads safer, create new economic opportunities, and help seniors and those with disabilities live more independently.
"Almost 40,000 lives were lost on our roads last year. This represents yet another yearly increase in traffic-related fatalities. In my home state of Oregon, traffic fatalities were the highest they’ve been in 14 years, increasing by an alarming 20 percent from the year before,” said Walden. “Statistics show that 94 percent of accidents relate to human behavior. During our morning commute into work, just look around. We all see folks on their phones in the cars next to us. While National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cannot write a safety standard to make us all perfect drivers, it can work to advance life-saving technologies -- which is the underlying goal of today’s bipartisan legislation.”
Rep. Greg Walden Is Oregon's Champion Of Self-Driving Cars
The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a bill to spur the widespread use of self-driving cars that was partly crafted by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon. Walden used his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to work with automakers and tech companies to hammer out a measure that allows testing of more self-driving cars on American roads. “Today marks a really important milestone in our pursuit to make our roadways safer and support American leadership in self-driving innovation,” Walden said on the House floor before the measure passed on a voice vote with no objection.