U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D–Canby stopped by a government class at McNary High School recently, and also chatted with Jason Cox of the Keizertimes:
JC: What should students here at the high school going into college expect for student loan rates?
KS: “Hopefully my colleagues quit the partisan warfare over the pay forwards and adopt the Senate bill. The Stafford loan rates would go back down where they should be at a 3.4 percent interest rate. Keep the Pell grants in place at the higher levels like the president has been pushing for and I have been strongly behind.”
JC: Would you support an extension of the Highway Bill with the Keystone XL mandate?
KS: “Yes, I would actually. Means jobs, they’re gonna build the Keystone pipeline one way or the other. They are moving it off of the sensitive lands in Nebraska. If that stuff is going to be developed I want it to create American jobs, not Chinese jobs.”
JC: How specifically is the new highway bill going to affect the Mid Valley?
KS: “It is critical because otherwise the highway and transit system grinds to a halt. Transit money grinds to a halt. No opportunity for the Woodburn interchange. We are lobbying very hard for the TIGER grant that they have applied for this time. The interchange work at Kuebler Boulevard south of Salem here, that’s part and parcel of the lot that comes out of these transportation bills.”
JC: Does this bill move any closer toward the goal that many local leaders have of ultimately seeing a third Bridge across the Willamette River in Salem?
KS: “That is a longer term project. I think the Environmental Impact Statement just got done. … I understand the traffic counts might be a be a problem on getting that done real soon, but it is certainly on my radar screen and we will continue to pursue it.”
JC: Just in general, projects like that, what do you think can be done to shorten that process?
KS: “To continue to have the (Environmental Impact Study) processes required to be done every several years whether the bridge is moved any further down the line is a waste of money. … (Changing) that would cut the cost and the process down dramatically.”
JC: One of the things you have talked about is generating credit for small business. Some don’t need credit, they don’t have the sales and demand. But what can the House Small Business Committee do to boost sales and demand?
KS: “One thing we can do, not so much on the small business committee, in terms of increasing demand is to get our fiscal situation in order for this country. Right now our debt and deficit are unsustainable and we are in the process of going bankrupt just like Greece. In my opinion, if we make a small correction by the end of this year, we can afford to do so without impacting major programs or the lifestyles of people.”
JC: What did you think of the House Agriculture’s committee’s vote on food stamp cuts?:
KS: “Total charade. Raw politics. A nod to the right wing thugs that hold [House Speaker] John Boehner hostage. No way going to pass into the farm bill. That $33 billion cut is egregious. It is more than the ag committees’ share of the proportionate cuts … Right now I know for the kids in my district in my district, whether they be in Salem or Tillamook, the need is increasing. The case load is increasing. … For every dollar in food stamps that goes out we actually leverage increased investment to the communities.”
JC: Are there potential consequences for the larger farm bill and other implications?:
KS: Yeah, we won’t have one.