To the editor:

Last Friday, Representative Greg Walden held a long overdue town hall in The Dalles.

When asked about climate change, Walden acknowledged he believes it’s real, that it’s being accelerated by human activities, and that we need to take action immediately. This is a positive change from his silence on the matter over the past two years while President Trump repeatedly denied climate change and worked to reverse all efforts to address the issue made by previous administrations. However, Walden failed to offer any significantly new or specific ideas, offering more or less the status quo of his party’s inaction on climate change over the past few years.

He did offer plenty of criticism for Democrats’ ideas, including that transitioning completely to renewable energy could cost as much as $5.7 trillion over 10 years. That may sound like a lot, but it works out to just over $0.5 trillion/year. By comparison, the 2017 Republican tax plan, which Walden supported to provide enormous tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, has now added $2 trillion to the national debt over the past two years, or $1 trillion per year.

Does Walden really believe $0.5 trillion/year to slow climate change would be, in his words, “devastating to our national debt” while $1 trillion/year for tax cuts to the wealthy is a great GOP accomplishment?

When asked about his ideas for health care in America, Walden was once again short on constructive ideas but long on criticism for his colleagues across the aisle. He noted that Democrats have not yet held any hearings on “Medicare For All,” and trotted out the oft-used but totally discredited claim that Democrats held no hearings on Obamacare.

Obamacare/ACA was debated in three House Committees (with 160 Republican amendments), and two Senate Committees (with 44 hearings and public meetings), and I’m sure Democrats will also hold hearings on Medicare for All when they’re ready. Perhaps Walden is confusing Obamacare/ACA with his own attempt to repeal it. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which Walden was instrumental in drafting and getting passed in the House, was so unpopular that even the Republican-controlled Senate started over from scratch, with 13 Republican senators, all men, working on it in total secrecy. Not a single hearing was ever held on that legislation, which many of you will recall, was narrowly defeated with Senator John McCain’s widely televised “thumbs-down” vote.

The truth matters, Mr Walden.

Debi Ferrer

The Dalles

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