Merkley’s bills to tackle wildfire smoke

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the weather heats up and the threat of wildfires intensifies, Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced a package of bills aimed at the smoke damage they cause.

The Oregon Democrat said this package of bills is the first time the effects of smoke has been addressed. The bills aim to prevent smoke damage, respond to smoke emergencies, address the air quality of workers battling the wildfires and provide additional resources for and research on how smoke affects businesses.

The Wildfire Resiliency Act, which addresses wildfires directly, is still working its way through Congress, he told KOIN 6 News.

On the trade agreements with Mexico, Merkley said the USMCA looks a lot like NAFTA.

As lon as there is complete access to our markets by countries that play by different rules, US companies will continue to suffer, Merkley said.

He added he still doesn’t know the details of the “secret agreement” President Trump said he struck with Mexico in an immigration deal last Friday.

Sen. Jeff Merkley in Washington, DC, June 12, 2019 (KOIN)

As the House of Representatives ramps up investigations into the Trump Administration, Merkley said Congress still wants to hear from Don McGahn, who was the White House counsel to the Office of the President. Trump ordered McGahn to ignore a Congressional subpoena to testify.

Trump is encouraging his staff and former staff to resist any subpoenas that come from Congress. Merkely said this is not good because it undermines the concept of checks and balances and is wrong for Trump to use lawsuits as leverage and the courts to delay accountability.

Going to the courts to force the enforcement of subpoenas, Merkley said, could take years.

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