Our Priorities

February 16, 2016
Enewsletter

Dear Friends, 

I hope the New Year finds you well. I wanted to give you an update on some of the issues I’m working on in Congress. 

Rebuilding & Renewing America 
For years, I’ve fought for smarter investment in our bridges, roads, bike paths, public transit, and other parts of our transportation system. These networks form the lifeblood of our communities – especially in the Portland metro area. Investments in new projects like the recently opened Tilikum Crossing and Orange Line, as well as the important basic maintenance of our roads, are essential to making our community safer, livable, walkable, bikeable, and accessible.

Today, the federal partnership we rely on to make these improvements is more certain. In December, we finally got a five-year transportation bill that provides increased funding for road improvements and protects transit, bike, and pedestrian projects, creating family wage jobs. Unfortunately, the funding is neither sustainable nor certain for the long term. I’ve developed a proposal supported by business, labor, and local governments that adjusts the federal gas tax and ultimately replaces it with a more appropriate, sustainable, and fair alternative. I’ll continue these efforts to secure our transportation future.

Ending the Failed Federal Prohibition of Marijuana 
For years, our state has been far ahead of the federal government on marijuana policy. Our leadership was further cemented last year when Oregon legalized the adult use of marijuana. Now, Oregon is once again demonstrating leadership through its responsible implementation of this law.

Our path forward would be much easier without the confusing patchwork of laws that trap businesses and regulators between federal and state governments. The federal government should be a partner, not an obstacle. That’s why I’m working to make sure legal marijuana businesses have access to banking services and not forced to operate as cash only, as well as taxing them fairly and enabling them to deduct business expenses like all other businesses. I’m also working to legalize and regulate marijuana at the federal level, further protect medical marijuana patients, promote more research, and reduce the unconscionable racial disparities in the enforcement of drug laws. 

Making Our Agricultural Policy More Equitable & Sustainable 
The Farm Bill is the most important bill that most Americans have never heard of, impacting our economy, environment, and what we eat. It provides funding and sets policy for federal farm and food programs. As things stand, we pay too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong crops in the wrong places. We can do better. 

Last year, I launched my “Sing Your Own Farm Bill” project in Oregon to create a more visionary, equitable, and cost-effective Farm Bill. Just as people often come together in an unrehearsed chorus to sing their own version of Handel’s Messiah, I’m meeting with stakeholders across Oregon – agricultural researchers, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, winemakers, and more – to brainstorm ideas for how federal agricultural policies could be best shaped to meet Oregon’s distinct and varied needs. We can start with a bill that reduces spending, promotes healthy food, and provides innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Sign up here to receive regular updates on these issues and others, including my efforts to protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands, my proposals for common sense measures to reduce gun violence, my work to improve services for our veterans, steps I’m taking as Chair of the Animal Protection Caucus to increase Congressional action for animal welfare, and more. 

I hope you will sign up for these updates and stay in touch. I would enjoy hearing your feedback. You can contact me by phone, letter, or on my website: https://blumenauer.house.gov/.

It is truly an honor to represent you. 

Courage, 

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress