A Message From Congressman Peter DeFazio 


Update from
 Congressman Peter DeFazio 

Here's what I'm working on both in Oregon and in Washington: 

Fighting for Critical Programs

On May 23, President Trump submitted his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget to Congress. His budget would cut or eliminate a variety of critical domestic programs to make way for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, a $54 billion increase in defense spending that purports to protect national security by showering money on an already-bloated Pentagon, and a stupid "beautiful wall" along the Mexican border. 

Critical programs like the Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), disability benefits, Meals-on-Wheels, and Seniors Corps—a program that I brought to Lane County in 1977 that donates millions of hours of service to help those in need—would be either be eliminated or significantly cut.

Alarmingly, President Trump eliminates payments to older veterans who can’t work because of injuries they acquired while serving our nation—lowering the earnings of our most vulnerable veterans.

In Oregon alone:

  • 32,689 workers in job training programs would lose services.
  • 10,765 Oregonian children would lose before-and-after-school and summer school programs.
  • 22,016 low-income students who received need-based aid for higher education would lose their Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

President Trump's budget promotes wrong-headed priorities, and I am unequivocally opposed to a massive defense spending increase that would devastate domestic programs that contribute to the daily quality of life for millions of Americans. To read my full statement on President Trump's budget, click HERE.

U.S. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord

Yesterday, President Trump announced that he is withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark 195-nation Paris Climate Accord which undertakes ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. The U.S., the second largest carbon dioxide emitting nation and the biggest per capita, now stands with only Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations that are not part of the Accord.  

The move comes on top of President Trump's March 28 executive order that takes aggressive steps to roll back the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations. The executive order directs the EPA to start the process of withdrawing and rewriting the Obama Clean Power Plan, which would have phased out hundreds of coal-fired power plants, frozen construction of new plants, and replaced them with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. The Clean Power Plan was essential to the U.S. meeting the goal of cutting emissions by 26 percent by 2025. The president’s order also repeals the mandate that requires federal officials to consider climate change impacts when making decisions.

I reject the argument made by the Trump Administration and my Republican colleagues that the U.S. must pull out of the Paris Agreement and decimate federal programs intended to protect our air, water, and public health to "grow the economy" and to “balance our budget.” That's an irresponsible and short-sighted philosophy.  Even companies like Exxon Mobile urged the president not to withdraw.

The science is clear that if we don't act, our planet will be in serious peril. We need to get serious about climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. You can be sure that that I will continue to fight for a strong federal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and remain committed to protecting our nation's most important environmental and public health laws and agencies.

Ongoing Investigation into Russian Interference

Every week there appears to be new, disturbing developments surrounding President Trump, his administration, and the investigation of Russian interference in last year's presidential election. On May 9, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. A week later, reports surfaced that President Trump asked Comey to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. More recently, senior White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has come under FBI scrutiny for his involvement. Reports surfaced that Kushner spoke with Russia Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about setting up a back-channel between then President-elect Trump's transition team and the Kremlin. The back-channel would have used Russian diplomatic facilities in an effort to shield discussions from monitoring. 

The recent revelations only strengthen my belief that the only way the truth about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia will be uncovered is to conduct a thorough, independent, and unbiased investigation into the matter. That's why in January, I cosponsored H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to create an independent commission devoted to this investigation. Thus far, the Republican majority has not taken any action despite almost 200 cosponsors in support of this legislation. 

I was pleased to see that former FBI Director Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8. We will finally have the chance to hear what Comey has to say regarding his conversation with President Trump as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the election. It is also important that former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has been appointed as special counsel to oversee the ongoing investigation, complete the ongoing investigation free from influence from President Trump or his administration. If he is unable to do so, Congress must pass legislation to allow an independent commission to do so.

Supporting Local Organic Foods Businesses

On Thursday, I hosted a roundtable with a diverse group of organic foods businesses including wholesalers, food processors, organic seed farmers, distributors, certifiers, retailers and academics at So Delicious Dairy Free in Springfield. 

Oregon ranks 9th in the nation for organic businesses, with 851 organic companies in the state. The organic sector is growing at an unprecedented pace, and it was enlightening to hear from these businesses about their tremendous growth over the last few years and how the sector provides jobs to Oregonians and healthy food to consumers. We discussed important federal programs that help conventional farmers transition to organic farming, support research on organic crops, and maintain the strict organic standards on which American consumers rely. We also discussed the threat to the future of the National Organics Program and critical research on the transition to organics for conventional farmers, opposed by the Trump budget, and began to formulate a strategy for the upcoming farm bill, which will be critical to the future of the program.  

Know someone who should get these updates? Please feel free to forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up HERE.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me either by email or by calling my Oregon office toll-free at 1-800-944-9603.    


Peter DeFazio

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