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Rep. Schrader Votes Against Deficit Inflating Two-Year Budget

Congressman Schrader voted early today against the two-year budget deal that is slated to add over $500 billion more to the deficit, and an estimated $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. The bill does nothing to address wildfire prevention after one of the worst wildfire seasons in Oregon and across the Western states. Additionally, the bill inflates military spending less than one week after an internal audit revealed that an agency within the Pentagon lost track of more than $800 million. It also continues to ignore immigration, leaving 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, as well as their employers, in limbo as the Administration’s March 6th deadline to end the program approaches.

“We have been setting such an irresponsible precedent, and that it’s being set my by Republican colleagues who claim to be the deficit hawks of this body is confusing and hypocritical,” said Rep. Schrader. “This bill blows a $500 billion sized hole in deficit. That’s on top of the $1.4 trillion we already added with the tax bill last December. And what do we get for mortgaging the future of our country? Nothing to prevent wildfires like the ones that ravaged our Oregon homes worse than ever last year. Nothing to fix the broken budgeting process for fighting those wildfires. Nothing to address the hundreds of thousands of young DACA recipients across this county who the President has needlessly planned to strip the status of next month. These young folks are workers in industries from high tech in Silicon Valley to medicine and research at our top universities to our farming and ag communities in Oregon. It would behoove every last one of us to see that they and their talents are able to remain safely in this country.

“I’ll tell you what we do get with this bill. We get more money thrown blindly at the Pentagon, an agency with an already bloated budget, that has proven again and again how financially irresponsible it can be.  Even before this bill, our military funding was already exceeding funding for all of our discretionary domestic programs combined. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it: throwing more money at an entire agency does not equate to our troops getting the resources they need to be successful in serving our country, keeping us safe, and defending freedom around the world. We have to be smarter about the way we spend taxpayer dollars. This is our number one duty in Congress, and with this bill, we’re failing miserably at that duty.”

In December of 2016, a Pentagon commissioned report was released showing $125 billion in wasteful spending throughout the Department of Defense, as well as attempts by the agency to cover up the findings. In response, Congressman Schrader introduced the Department of Defense Overhead Cost Savings and Transparency Act to release the full and unaltered  report to Congress. The bill would also provide for expedited consideration of legislation to implement the report’s recommendations to cut or reallocate excess in their spending.

Throughout the fall, Congressman Schrader took to the House floor and social media to share the story of Oregon DACA recipients. With over 11,000 DACA recipients in Oregon alone, more than 9,000 of whom are part of the Oregon workforce, the state would lose an estimated $605 million in gross state product from deportations if Congress fails to act on DACA. Last month, Rep. Schrader invited one of Oregon’s Dreamers, Juan Carlos Navarro of Monmouth, to be his guest at the State of the Union. Hear Juan’s store below.

[VIDEO] Juan's Story: a Monmouth Dreamer, research patient with Cerebral Palsy at Shriners Hospital, Western Oregon University graduate, and current graduate student at Oregon State University.

Congressman Schrader has been a vocal advocate for wildfire prevention, forest management, and fixing the broken budgeting process for wildfires. Earlier this year, the Congressman reintroduced his bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, alongside Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), to fix the current budgeting process for wildfires. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would end fire borrowing by treating wildfires like other natural disasters when wildfire suppression costs are exhausted.

[VIDEO]: In response to the Eagle Creek fire in Portland last September, Congressman Schrader took to the House floor to call for better forest management.

And in June, Congressman Schrader’s bipartisan bill to provide utility companies the ability to rapidly remove hazardous vegetation by receiving pre-approval from the Forest Service passed overwhelmingly in the House. The bill has yet to pass through the Senate, and neither of this issues were addressed in the two-year budget.