Helping Oregon Rebuild and Recover Following Tragic Wildfires

Senator Jeff Merkley
2017-10-11 23:33:00
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Mourning Lives Lost in the Las Vegas Shooting

Our nation has been mourning for the victims of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, which came tragically on the anniversary of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Following the massacre in Las Vegas, Jeff called on his colleagues to support common-sense policies to reduce gun violence and protect American lives. From Sandy Hook to the Pulse Nightclub to Umpqua Community College, too many innocent American lives have been taken from us too soon due to gun violence. Jeff is working to protect Americans by getting weapons of war off the streets, while also upholding the Second Amendment.

Read Jeff’s response to the Las Vegas shooting here >>


Passing a Working America First Budget

As the Senate wades into the upcoming round of budget negotiations, Jeff is fighting for a budget that will create middle-class jobs, improve schools, and make health care more affordable and accessible, not simply add to the bank accounts of millionaires and billionaires. In the Budget Committee, he offered an amendment that would block tax cuts for anyone earning more than $1 million per year, but the majority voted it down. He also suggested that we roll back tax breaks for companies that shift jobs overseas and use the $1 trillion in savings to invest in jobs building roads, bridges, water systems, and rural broadband. Unfortunately, that too was not acceptable to his colleagues across the aisle. Jeff's going to keep fighting for a budget blueprint that puts the well-being of working Americans first.

Listen to Jeff’s remarks on the budget here >>


Fighting for Wildfire Funding

Following the wildfires that ravaged Oregon communities, Jeff made helping Oregon communities rebuild and recover his top priority. He fought to make sure communities across the state have the resources and manpower they need to recover from the fires. Jeff secured a for the Oregon Department of Transportation to support cleanup operations in the wake of these destructive wildfires. And he and his western colleagues in the disaster and government spending package that passed in the Senate in September. That funding will reverse “fire borrowing” -- in which the Forest Service has to raid programs such as fire prevention to fund firefighting activities -- by allowing the Forest Service to quickly repay funds it shifted in September to fight fire on the nearly 8.5 million acres of land that burned in nine western states.

But especially as devastating wildfires continue to burn in Northern California, there is still much more to do. The Forest Service has already spent $2.4 billion on suppression -- the first time on record the agency has reached the $2 billion mark. Jeff is fighting for more funding to repay that huge cost, so it doesn't compromise restoration and fire prevention work. He's working to include a long-term fix that would treat catastrophic fires like other national disasters. And Jeff wants to ensure that the next disaster bill includes resources to help Oregon communities and lands recover. The hurricanes in the southeast and Caribbean were devastating, but Jeff is reminding his colleagues that it's important to also address the disaster that has struck Oregon and other western states.

Read about funding to help address wildfire crisis here >>


Improving Child Care and Early Learning Programs

The rising cost of child care is a huge burden on Oregon’s families. Finding child care is stressful enough without worrying about how to afford a five-figure price tag for it. For Oregon families, a year of tuition at the University of Oregon is cheaper than the average annual cost for child care. Jeff believes that’s unacceptable, and that middle-class families deserve a break.

That is why Jeff is joining Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici in support of to improve child care and early learning programs. The Child Care for Working Families Act will provide every child with access to high-quality early learning and care that is affordable for working families. Jeff will keep fighting to make sure affordable child care is within reach for hardworking Oregon families.

Read about the Child Care for Working Families Act here >>


Thank you! 

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