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MailTribune.com
  • Walden vows to help implement stimulus

  • Congressman Greg Walden voted against the economic stimulus package when it came before the House of Representatives.
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  • Congressman Greg Walden voted against the economic stimulus package when it came before the House of Representatives.
    "I didn't vote for the overall bill, but it's law," he said in an interview following the video conference. "I figure my job is to try and do whatever I can to clear the hurdles and get the projects going and the people back to work using these funds.
    "They are going to be spent somewhere," he added. "I hope they are spent mostly in this region.
    "The part that is encouraging is the speed in which the agencies appear to want to move forward with projects," he said. "The federal government isn't always known for moving rapidly."
    The region should get as much of those funds as possible because of the backlog of work in the forests, the history of wildfires in the region, a ready and talented workforce and high unemployment, he said.
    "This is one area of the bill where spending can occur . . . and have pretty good accountability that it will be spent wisely," he said. "These aren't projects they are just making up. These are ones that have been in the public process, have had their public vetting and are ready to go.
    "I am not worried that, in this area, the money will be spent unwisely," he said. " In terms of taxpayer investment, this work on the Forest Service and the BLM ground has pretty good sideboards around it to ensure accountability."
    He said the size of the bill and the speed with which it went through Congress, means some aspects of the legislation were not properly vetted, which makes oversight vital.
    "We had our fight in Congress and this bill passed and became law," he said. "While I have issues about parts of this bill, it is the law. Now it is our job to make it work to the best and most efficient way possible."
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