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ANOTHER VOICE: Walden comments on government spending bill

From the office of Greg Walden, Second District U.S. Representative. (R-Hood River):

The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 15 passed a bipartisan bill that funds the government for the remainder of the year. Walden supported this plan, and released a statement:

“Today, the House passed a plan to continue our successful efforts to reduce spending, grow our economy, and prioritize to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

“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.

“The President asked Congress for an increase in funding for the EPA and Obamacare. We denied him that, and even cut an Obamacare slush fund by $1 billion and the EPA by $143 million. And it reduces unnecessary federal regulations and increases oversight of agencies like the IRS.

“We take care of our troops and veterans as well. The plan funds a 1 percent pay increase for the military, and restores the full, annual cost-of-living increase for medically retired military personnel. And it includes a comprehensive plan to end the claims backlog at the Veterans Administration by next year once and for all.

“The bill is another step in continued efforts to reduce spending, grow the economy, and eventually balance the budget”

Walden points to these features of the plan:

n Freezes funding for the Affordable Care Act and takes $1 billion out of an Obamacare slush fund.

n Supports wildfire operations and reimburses agencies for all fire borrowing last year.

n Directs additional funds to conservation efforts to prevent listing of the sage grouse as an endangered species.

n Prevents the exclusion of fresh, white potatoes from the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program.

n Blocks proposals to increasing BLM/Forest Service grazing fees and directs additional funds for reducing grazing permit backlogs.

n Fully funds a 1 percent pay raise for our troops and increases focus on military health like traumatic brain injuries and prosthetics.

n Restores the full annual cost-of-living increase for 63,000 medically retired military personnel.

n Includes a comprehensive initiative to end the claims backlog at the VA by 2015.

n Supports crop research programs important to Oregon agriculture, ranging from wheat to specialty crops like cherries and onions.

n Blocks OSHA’s efforts to regulate family farms as grain handlers

n Delays certain rate increases for federal flood insurance.

n Prevents the closing of rural post offices.

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