Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement on the release of President Obama’s budget for the fiscal year 2013.
“The budget put forth by the President lays out a plan for America’s success by prioritizing the success of America’s middle class. It puts our economic focus where it should be: jumpstarting job creation, improving our infrastructure, investing in competitiveness, and helping small businesses. Meanwhile, the budget proposes making our tax code more equitable by ending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, implementing the ‘Buffett rule’ and closing special interest loopholes. It’s a smart budget for the present and a smart budget for the future.’
“The investments in transportation infrastructure, clean energy, and energy-efficiency programs are exactly the type of targeted but bold programs we need to create a cleaner and more prosperous future. Making our homes and commercial buildings more energy-efficient is one of the best bangs for the buck as far as creating jobs: the labor can’t be outsourced, and most of the materials used are made right here in the USA.
“The budget also provides $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 schools and $30 billion to prevent the layoffs of teachers and first-responders. While private sector employers have been adding jobs, the layoffs in our local governments have been a drag to our economic recovery, and plugging that hole will help keep our schools well-staffed, keep our streets safe and propel our economy.
“This budget also includes several provisions of vital importance to Oregon. I applaud President Obama for including $16.6 million to fund the implementation of parts of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement that don’t need to wait for legislation to pass Congress. This agreement is critical to the long-term stability of farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and tribes in the Basin.
“I am especially pleased that the budget includes the longtime federal responsibility of county payments for Oregon’s forest counties. I have been pushing for a short-term extension of county payments while a long-term solution is developed. Short-term funding is a critical bridge to maintain schools and law enforcement in timber counties while we work to find a viable long-term, sustainable management solution for our federal forests in Oregon. While that is no guarantee, I will work vigorously with Senator Wyden and other members of the delegation to make sure payments continue for our counties.
“I don’t agree with every detail of this budget of course, and was particularly disappointed in the cut in the Superfund budget by $33 million. This could slow down progress of cleaning up the Portland harbor, which is critical to economic development in Oregon. I’ll be working to ensure that funding is not cut.
“On the whole, however, this budget represents a balanced effort to meet both short- and long-term needs in our nation and help middle class families succeed.”