The Senate passed a stop-gap budget bill and sent it to the House which will take it up Friday morning possibly in time to keep the government operating full time.
Statement from Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley:
“This bill is an important step forward in Congress’s budget negotiations. It sets the foundations for a two-year budget deal and makes significant strides on key priorities I have fought for, including opioid addiction treatment, water infrastructure, and community health clinics. As we work to implement today’s budget agreement, I will keep working fiercely on the Appropriations Committee to invest in these priorities that are so important to Oregon’s communities.
“However, today’s CR fails our nation in several critical ways, and for that reason, I could not support it.
“It entirely neglects to prevent future disastrous fire years. It does not include a fire fix that would end the practice of ‘fire borrowing,’ which robs funding from fire prevention to pay for fighting fires. It also repeats the same failed underinvestment in forest management that has turned our forests into tinderboxes. We saw in 2017 the disastrous consequences of that strategy. In Oregon alone, we have 1.6 million acres that have been approved for thinning that would make the forest fire resilient, create jobs, and provide saw logs for our mills. But without funding for this work, the forests will continue to burn, as we saw last summer. With the western snowpack at 30% of normal and much of Oregon already facing another dry year, Oregonians can’t afford for their federal government to repeat this mistake.
“For many years, our nation has invested huge sums in our military – which is already by far the largest in the world – while neglecting the education, health care, and infrastructure American families need. While this CR improves investments in some domestic priorities, on the whole this bill continues that trend – increasing spending on our military by $165 billion while continuing to underinvest in the basic foundations of our communities here at home.
“Finally, this bill once again fails our Dreamers. President Trump has destroyed their legal status, throwing their lives into stressful chaos. The Dreamers grew up in America, attending our schools and colleges and contributing significantly to our communities. This must be remedied.”