CONGRESS NEEDS TO PASS THE SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY SELF-DETERMINATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - January 23, 2007)
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Speaker, the failure of Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act amounts to breach of faith to the more than 600 forested counties across America.
For Grant County, Oregon, where 61 percent of the land in the county is Federal, this means the school district will now be forced to eliminate essential school programs and nearly double class sizes, delay school repairs and begin telling teachers, administrators and staff who gets to stay and who has to go.
School Superintendent Newell Cleaver puts it this way: ``We are watching our infrastructure being destroyed as this issue is debated in Congress. This program is the difference between rural schools remaining competitive with urban schools or not.'
Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton says, ``If the Federal Government would simply allow us to manage these natural resources, we would not need these funds. However, losing these funds will be felt by every man, woman and child in the county, especially the school children.'
My colleagues, Congress needs to pass H.R. 17 and keep the Federal Government's word to timbered communities and the citizens who live there. Time is running out for them.