Smith Praises House Approval of County Payments
President Expected to Sign a Four Year, $3.3 Billion County Payments Extension
Today, Oregon counties cleared the final hurdle in a long race to restore county payments funding after the House approved an economic stabilization package which included a four-year, $3.3 billion county payments extension. Senator Gordon H. Smith voted for the extension on Wednesday and led efforts to attach county payments funding to the overall legislation, which passed the Senate by a 74 to 25 vote. It will now be sent to the President's desk, where it's expected to be signed into law.
"I commend my colleagues in the House for breaking through partisan gridlock to restore vital economic lifeline to Oregon's counties," said Smith. "In a time of economic turmoil, this critical funding will ensure that thousands of Oregonians jobs will be safe and schools and libraries will remain open. Today's vote represents an enormous victory for rural communities across the country."
Today, Senator Smith is joining community leaders in several Oregon communities to discuss today's promising vote and the importance of county payments funding for Oregon's rural counties. His stops include Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene and Salem.
Senator Smith's long history to restore county payments includes:
* Held countless meetings with Administration officials, Senate leadership and Oregon County Commissioners
* At every opportunity, filed amendments to moving legislation to restore county payments
* At the urging of Senator Smith, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to Oregon to meet with county officials to discuss the future of the county payments safety net in June of 2007
* Successfully worked with Senator Wyden to help pass three bills in the Senate this Congress, which included a multi-year extension of county payments before the House, either held up the bill or stripped out county payments