House Resources Committee Unanimously Approves Bipartisan Walden Legislation
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Panel passes bill to reauthorize critical 'county payments' legislation; law provided Oregon with $273 million in 2004
WASHINGTON, DC - The House Resources Committee today voted unanimously to pass HR 517, legislation introduced by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) that would reauthorize the essential Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, currently set to expire in 2006, through 2013. The vote comes one week after Walden held a hearing on the legislation in the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, which he chairs.
Last year the law provided $273 million to fund schools and roads in 33 counties throughout Oregon, $84 million of which went Walden's district, which covers central, eastern and southern Oregon. The money from the federal government replaces funds schools and roads used to receive from federal timber harvest receipts.
"As chairman of the Forest and Forest Health Subcommittee and as a representative of a rural District containing nine federal forests, I was proud to introduce legislation reauthorizing the county payments law and to hold a hearing on this vital issue last week," said Walden. "Today, Chairman Pombo and my colleagues on the Resources Committee recognized the importance of the county payments law to rural communities across the nation through their unanimous support."
"Extending this law for another seven years is essential for our schools and for our counties. Moreover, it keeps a commitment the federal government has repeatedly made for nearly 100 years to communities surrounded by federal timberlands. The old funding system collapsed when federal timber harvest levels fell; that's why five years ago Congress approved a new funding system. With today's vote, we are one step closer to renewing that commitment," he continued.
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Walden added, "It is important that Congress fully understand the critical role this law has played in the livelihood of rural communities throughout the nation, and I am encouraged by the overwhelming support shown by the Resources Committee. The county payments law has been, and will continue to be, critical to the Second District, the State of Oregon and rural counties across the nation."
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