TAX EXTENDERS -- (Senate - September 18, 2008)
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Mr. CRAIG. Madam President, would the Senator yield?
Mr. WYDEN. I am happy to yield.
Mr. CRAIG. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Oregon, Mr. Wyden, for the work he has continually done on behalf of timber-dependent school districts and this uniqueness that Western States have that have these large portfolios of public land and have grown increasingly dependent upon the action taken by the Federal Government and the reaction in the States and the impact on the economy of local communities. When he and I stood together and worked out Wyden-Craig, Craig-Wyden and worked with our timber-dependent school districts and got it funded, we solved a very big problem.
The advisory committees the Senator speaks to were in themselves a phenomenon in the sense that after 2,300 decisions by those groups to do activities on public lands, and not one of them objected to by an interest group or a suit filed to stop them, Senator Wyden and I grew convinced that we could work together to resolve our public land issues when we put determination and resource behind them, and that is what we did.
I thank Senator Wyden very much for staying with this. It is my understanding that in the tax extenders package we will consider this coming week, we will see a reauthorization of Wyden-Craig that will get this work done, send a message back to our school districts and our counties that we are here to help, to assist, and to stabilize the very dire economic conditions those school districts and counties are experiencing. I thank Senator Wyden for sticking to it and with it because it is that kind of resolve that may solve this substantial problem.
I thank the Senator for yielding.
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Mr. CRAIG. Madam President, I understand that Senator Akaka is en route to the floor to speak and possibly put forth a unanimous consent request. He is entering the Chamber now. I know he has time for that consideration. I will not speak as in morning business, but I will close by saying I thank my colleague from Oregon.
The years we have worked together have become a very valuable partnership for the benefit of public land States and for us to recognize the changing world in which we live in these States. But the demand is still on the communities. No matter how the use of public land--or how we apply policy to public land changes, we still have to maintain roads, bridges, and schools if there is going to be vitality in a community that can support new economic opportunity in the coming years. That is what the Senator has so eloquently spoken to. We both recognized that, and we used the Public Land Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which I chaired and which he now chairs, as that link and partnership to accomplish a great deal of this. I thank him for that work.
I yield the floor.