Walden Issues Statement on Funding Measure Includes Help for Irrigators

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Greg Walden secures key priorities for Oregon
Supports House passage of government funding measure

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released the following statement after the House passed a government funding measure that included key priorities for Oregon: 

“The measure passed today includes several provisions that address key priorities for our state. To improve forest health and prevent catastrophic wildfires in Oregon, I worked hard to ensure this plan makes important reforms to federal forest policy, improves the way we pay to fight wildfires, and also provides two years of Secure Rural Schools funding to support essential county services in Oregon. We also take action to give immediate drought relief for irrigators in the Klamath Basin to ensure our farmers can survive this challenging water year, which has been a priority of myself and my Oregon colleagues, as well as the Administration.  

 “To address the opioid crisis in Oregon and across the country, we are putting forward unprecedented resources to combat this nationwide scourge. We are also dedicating more resources to improving mental health care services in our communities. 

 “I’m also incredibly proud to see inclusion of the RAY BAUM’S Act, legislation named after my dear friend and La Grande native that reauthorizes the FCC for the first time in 28 years and will speed deployment of next generation broadband across the country, which is particularly important for rural communities in Oregon. 

“The Brownfields program, which is being used successfully in Oregon to redevelop old industrial sites and put them back into active use, is fully reauthorized under our plan. This will help create jobs, grow our local economies, and make our communities cleaner and more prosperous 

“Most importantly, this plan provides our military with the critical resources our men and women in uniform need to keep us safe, and helps ensure our veterans are receiving the care and support they deserve at VA facilities across the country. This agreement marks an important step forward on critical issues for Oregon and America, and I urge the Senate to quickly send this bill to the President’s desk.”  

 Forest Management Reform

  • Provides the Forest Service with additional tools to streamline the planning process and conduct projects to improve forest resiliency to wildfire and protect communities.  
  • Fixes how the federal government pays for wildfire, ensuring that the Forest Service does not rob from fire prevention and forest management accounts to pay to fight fire.

Klamath Basin Drought Relief

  • Provides drought relief funding for Klamath Basin irrigators and gives the Bureau of Reclamation additional authorities to implement procedures to minimize the impact of this drought year. 

Combating the Opioid Crisis:

  • To boost our response to the opioid crisis, the bill provides $4 billion, the largest investment to date, to help address prevention, treatment, and enforcement issues. 
  • $130 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response program, striving to reach rural communities that have been hit especially hard by the opioid crisis.  
  • $1 billion in new grants to be dispatched to the states and Indian tribes.

Funding Critical Mental Health Programs:

  • The bill appropriates more than $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health programs and other training.  
  • Nearly 30 sections of mental health provisions within the landmark 21st Century Cures Act will receive funding, including the Mental Health Block Grant seeing a $160 million increase. Other items include: the National Traumatic Stress Network, the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, Mental and Behavioral Health Training Grants, Assisted Outpatient Treatment, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


  • Reauthorizes the FCC and includes reforms to ensure the commission continues to improve its efficiency and transparency. 
  • Boosts development of next-generation wireless broadband known as 5G by identifying spectrum for private sector use and cutting red tape associated with building wireless networks. 
  • Helps TV broadcasters and rural translator districts relocate channels following the successful mobile broadband spectrum auction. 
  • Helps the FCC and law enforcement protect consumers from fraudulent telephone calls, and to educate Americans about their options to stop these illegal calls.

Brownfields Reauthorization: 

  • Brownfields sites are often abandoned, closed or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities such as an abandoned factory, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry-cleaning establishment or gas station.  
  • EPA estimates that more than 450,000 brownfields exist across the United States, each of which has the capability to be remediated through the Brownfields Program which in turn will encourage economic development in the local community. 
  • Over 129,000 jobs have been leveraged because of the Brownfields Program and almost 70,000 acres have been made ready for reuse. 
  • Oregon has been particularly successful using the Brownfields Program to put old industrial sites back in to productive service, such as the Old Mill District in Bend -- one of Oregon’s most successful Brownfields projects. 
  • Walden led the House passage of the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act by a 409-8 vote in November.

Press release provided from the office of Greg Walden, Representative 2nd District of Oregon.