Above image from The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]), 27 Aug. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.

Democrats in the News

June 17, 2021

Wyden Sounds Alarm on Wildfire Season at ENR Committee Hearing on Forest Service Budget

Sen. Wyden asks Forest Service chief for written plan on how the agency will prepare and respond to another expected catastrophic wildfire season in the West

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sounded the alarm during today's U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the U.S. Forest Service annual budget on what every person living in the West knows is coming: another catastrophic wildfire season.

“This year in the West we could be looking at the prospect of multiple fires, big ones, at the same time,” Wyden said.

Wyden asked U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen for the agency's plan for resource sharing when there are multiple severe fires across communities in the West.

“We need a 21st Century workforce and equipment and technology. Thanks to the work with this Committee, we are making some progress. We have a modernized air tanker fleet. We are making some steps forward with our limited capacity of resources, with advancing technology. We need a more of year-round workforce, but … our system is at a breaking point,” Chief Christiansen said.

Wyden requested a written statement from the Forest Service on its plans to cover all the dangers associated with another expected catastrophic wildfire season in the West, as well as the USFS plans for wildfire resiliency efforts like hazardous fuels reduction.

Wyden, along with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., yesterday in a letter pressed federal land managers on Oregon's preparedness needs for the 2021 wildfire season as intense drought conditions persist and are expected to worsen in the state.

Wyden’s 21st Century Conservation Corps Act would provide critical funds to support a natural resource management and conservation workforce and bolster wildfire prevention and preparedness to protect the health and safety of communities from threats posed by wildfire season. Wyden also reintroduced his National Prescribed Fire Act to support pre-fire season controlled burns as an essential, science-based strategy for reducing hazardous fuels to mitigate the worst effects of severe wildfire. Wyden has introduced the Disaster Safe Power Grid Act to ensure that power companies reduce the risks of wildland fires through power system upgrades, fire and disaster safety equipment installation and proper vegetation management.

Video of the full exchange is available here.

 

For more press releases from Senator Wyden click here.

On Fifth Anniversary of Toxic Substances Control Reform Passage, Merkley Affirms Commitment to Strengthening Americans’ Protections from Toxic Chemicals

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—who serves as Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee for Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight—released the following statement today in recognition of the fifth anniversary of landmark reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which Merkley helped to negotiate:

“It’s been five years since Congress took a big step forward toward the toxic chemical regulation the American people deserve. But a massive amount of work remains ahead of us in protecting Americans’ health from these substances. Across the country, Americans will buy products today that contain toxic chemicals, while thousands of workers and others will fight the deadly illnesses toxic chemicals have caused. Those realities are frustrating, heartbreaking, and completely unacceptable.

“Every American—regardless of the color of their skin, where they live, or how much money they have—deserves the peace of mind of knowing they aren’t being poisoned by their air, water, soil, home, or everyday household products. Nothing about that should be controversial. So today, let’s reaffirm our commitment to finishing the job Congress started in 2016, and deliver the protections we need to save lives.

“That means strengthening the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement of our reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act, so it can accomplish its goal and work the way it was intended to work. I’m fully committed to leading that charge, and will continue to do all that I can to urge my colleagues to join this fight.”

Merkley was instrumental in negotiating and passing the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which made significant reforms to TSCA in order to give the EPA the power to ban asbestos and require the agency to complete a review of asbestos by today’s date in 2020. Given that neither a ban nor a final review have been completed, Merkley used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee last week to urge Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan on the need to issue rules for the top ten most prevalent toxic chemicals, including asbestos, during the Committee’s hearing on the EPA’s budget request for the fiscal year 2022. “You can’t study things forever. There’s a point where this is a risk. Let’s get it out of our products. That’s your job,” Merkley pressed during the hearing.

 

For more press releases from SenatorMerkley click here.

Rep. Peter DeFazio Encourages Oregon Families to Watch for Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments Beginning in July

Jun 22, 2021

Press Release

43,200 Households, Covering 90.4% Of All Children in OR-04, Could Get Up to $300 Per Child Every Month July-December as Part of American Rescue Plan DeFazio Helped Pass

Rep. Peter DeFazio today encouraged families in Oregon’s 4th congressional district to watch for advance monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit of up to $300 per month per child beginning July 15th through December. These payments are part of the American Rescue Plan, which Rep. DeFazio strongly supported and helped pass. 

  • 43,200 households, covering 90.4% of all children in Oregon’s 4th congressional district could get up to $300 per month per child July-December and even more after filing their taxes next year. 

  • Nearly all working families should get their monthly payments automatically beginning July 15th with no further action required.  

  • Families who did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2020 and who did not use the IRS Non-filers tool last year to sign up for the Economic Impact Payments, should go online and use the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to sign up today. 

“The Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments will be transformative for Southwest Oregon families and help set our children up for success,” said Rep. DeFazio. “These payments will take many children out of food insecurity and lift nearly 6,000 children out of deep poverty in my congressional district alone. The pandemic has hit working families particularly hard, and it’s long past time we recognize the costs.”

For a video statement from DeFazio on the Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments, click here.  

 
Major Tax Relief for Nearly All Working Families: 

42,300 hardworking households, covering 90.4% of all children, in OR-04 could get up to $300 per month, per child July-December and even more after filing their taxes next year. 

How Much Is the Child Tax Credit Expansion from the American Rescue Plan? 

The American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit to up to $3,600 per child for children ages 0 to 5 and $3,000 per child for children ages 6 to 17.   

The American Rescue Plan also authorized advance monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit through December 2021.  Beginning in July and running through December, qualifying families can get up to:  

  • $300 a month per child for children ages 0 to 5.  

  • $250 a month per child for children ages 6 to 17.  

Families will get their remaining expanded Child Tax Credit when they file their 2021 tax return.  

Who Qualifies? 

Families will qualify for a full credit if their income is below $75,000 for single filers, $112,000 for people filing as head of household, or $150,000 for people who are married and filing jointly. 

How Do I Get My Payment? 

  • Nearly all hardworking families should get their monthly payments automatically beginning July 15th with no further action required. If you’ve filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service, you will get this tax relief automatically. You do not need to sign up or take any action. 
     

  • Families who did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2020 and who did not use the IRS Non-filers tool last year to sign up for the Economic Impact Payments, should go online and use the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to sign up today. 
     

  • Families who got their refunds from the IRS through direct deposit will get these payments in their bank account around the 15th of every month until the end of 2021. People who don’t use direct deposit will receive their payment by mail around the same time. 
     

  • Families will be able to determine their eligibility, check the status of their payments and more at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021 later this month.   

Watch out for scams 

According to IRS.gov: “The IRS urges everyone to be on the lookout for scams related to both Advance Child Tax Credit payments and Economic Impact Payments. The IRS emphasized that the only way to get either of these benefits is by either filing a tax return with the IRS or registering online through the Non-filer Sign-up tool, exclusively on IRS.gov. Any other option is a scam. 

Watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS never sends unsolicited electronic communications asking anyone to open attachments or visit a non-governmental web site.” 

 

For more press releases from Congressman DeFazio click here.