Walden extremely disappointed that Speaker strips county payments from emergency supplemental
Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) released the following statement following the announcement that the one-year extension of county payments passed by the Senate in the emergency supplemental bill has been stripped by House majority leadership.
"I am extremely disappointed that the emergency one-year extension of county payments provided in the Senate was stripped by the House in the final bill. The Democratic leadership's decision leaves over 600 rural counties and 4,400 schools across America wondering how they'll make ends meet to provide basic services. This was a real rescue in the form of real funds in a bill the president has indicated he will sign into law.
"The predicament facing these counties and schools is an emergency. Just look at Josephine County where the overnight sheriff patrol for the 1,640 square mile county is split among just six deputies, or Crook County where the road department has been cut in half. Today's emergency bill was meant to deliver rescue services and the leadership failed to respond to the alarm.
"It's been a rough patch for county payments advocates the last few weeks, but now is not the time to surrender. Today's setback only makes more urgent the need to find additional bipartisan partners who are willing to work on a viable long-term extension that can become law. We cannot let today's most disappointing turn of events serve as the final chapter in the fight to keep the federal government's commitment to America's rural counties and schools. Real solutions that can be signed into law exist if the leadership will provide us the chance for a vote, and we must keep advocating for this chance."
Congressman Walden has proposed a plan to fund county payments and the payment in lieu of taxes program (PILT) with revenue produced from new, environmentally responsible energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf while providing unprecedented control of boundary waters to the states. Similar, strongly bipartisan language passed the House in 2006 when oil was $70 a barrel - today, the cost is near $140 a barrel.
A recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed that 67 percent of Americans favor energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf.