Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., of Grants Pass, released a statement today confirming that no deal has been made with the Democratic majority to end the Republican walkout. The 11 Republican members of the state Senate left the capital and, reportedly, the state of Oregon last week to block and protest a planned vote on House Bill 2020, the cap and trade proposal.
“Despite the onslaught of rumors, as of today, no deal with the Democrats has been made. I have been in communications without any results and nothing has been determined,” Baertschiger said. “My caucus and I intend to remain out of the state. We are working for our constituents and all Oregonians against House Bill 2020, the devastating gas and emissions tax.”
In a separate statement, two Republican members of the House were supportive of their Senate colleagues’ decision to walk out, saying that HB 2020 was “really the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Republican Reps. E. Werner Reschke and Carl Wilson said that, throughout this session, members of their party have been “shut out from any meaningful input on almost every single policy shift from historic norms — many put in place by the citizen initiative process.”
Republicans are in a “superminority” in both chambers, with Democrats representing a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. Gov. Kate Brown is also a Democrat.
“Oregonians have a built-in pioneering spirit, which values both entrepreneurism and the environment. But when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, Oregon voters usually snap it back,” the statement by Reps. Reschke and Wilson said. “I believe we can safeguard our environment without having to kill our natural resource economy and dramatically raise the cost of living for everyone else.”