Merkley Statement on Spending Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after voting for the congressional spending deal:

“This bill keeps the government open through the balance of the fiscal year. That’s a great relief for millions of Americans.

“I am very disturbed that the Homeland Security portion of this bill does not address key immigration issues, including Trump’s string of child prisons, his internment camps, and his misuse of ICE detention to criminalize families fleeing persecution. Those are battles I will continue to fight fiercely.

“The other six bills contained in this legislation have many wins for Oregon, including in the Agriculture bill I helped to write. I am proud to support those bills, which include significant victories for our state, such as:

  • A $583 million increase in rental assistance funding, and a $123 million increase in Homeless Assistance grants;
  • Funding for transportation and infrastructure, including an additional $549 million for clean water and sanitary waste systems in rural communities, and an increase in funding for my WIFIA program which will leverage up to $7.3 billion in low-cost loans for water infrastructure;
  • Increased funding for wildfire prevention and $2.5 billion in funding for wildfire suppression, plus a $508 million emergency buffer to prevent fire borrowing if necessary;
  • A massive, $550 million investment in rural broadband;
  • $500 million for the PILT program, which helps fund vital services in counties with large tracts of BLM land;
  • Increased funding for agricultural research;
  • $25 million for irrigation modernization in Central Oregon;
  • $4 million for local water efforts in the Klamath Basin, including $3.5 million to help restore healthy populations of shortnose and Lost River sucker;
  • $3.5 million for mass timber research;
  • $1.2 million to combat Sudden Oak Death;
  • $1 million for Columbia River Basin Restoration;
  • Maintaining funding for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, which creates jobs in the woods and helps make forests more fire-resilient.