Wu, Hooley & DeFazio confront Secretary of Commerce

Yesterday, they staged a protest on the House floor.

Today, members of Congress David Wu, Peter DeFazio, and Darlene Hooley pulled the Secretary of Commerce into a room and tried to talk some sense into him regarding a disaster declaration for Oregon's fishing industry.

According to Jeff Kosseff on the OregonLive politics blog:

One day after staging a protest on the House floor, Oregon’s U.S. representatives cornered Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to make their case for the state's fishing industry.

In their continuing attempts to secure financial relief for West coast salmon fishermen, U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley and David Wu, all Democrats, confronted Gutierrez just minutes before he was scheduled to testify at a House committee this morning. They were joined by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and representatives from California.

They gathered in a meeting room in the Rayburn House Office Building and for 15 minutes lobbied for Gutierrez’s department to declare a disaster for the fishermen.

More here.

And here's some of today's Oregonian story on yesterday's protest on the House floor:

U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley decided Wednesday morning was the perfect time to "organize a little protest."

With Congress moving toward the Fourth of July recess, Hooley and Reps. Peter DeFazio and David Wu used arcane procedural maneuvers to bring debate on a sweeping appropriations bill to a near standstill, frustrating their colleagues until they got a compromise. ...

Wednesday morning, Wu called for a motion to adjourn, which required every member to return to the chamber while the Oregon and California representatives discussed the impact on the fishing community. The Oregon and California representatives then began demanding votes on each of the scores of amendments to the appropriations bill, requiring their colleagues to return repeatedly for roll calls.

The Oregon and California representatives refused to back down.

"I'll keep going for as long as it takes," Hooley said in a phone interview during the protest.

Wu said that during his eight years in the House, he has grilled experts on parliamentary maneuvers and pored over the procedural rules.

"I've been keeping this in my back pocket for eight years for a moment when we would need it," Wu said. "Should I have saved it for something more important? Maybe so, but I think the salmon are not only economically pretty important to Oregonians, but it's who we are."


  • rewolfrats (unverified)

    The disaster declaration is a no go. The administration needs some hurting fishermen when they roll out their legislation to eliminate the endangered species act in September.

    1) From a marketing standpoint, you don't roll out a new product in August.

    2) Don't destroy an enemy if its presence can be utilized to bolster your political aims.

    3) Have no respect for nature, life, or scientists with PhDs.

    4) Divert attention to divisive minor issues when elections are imminent. What inflation? Iraq? What Iraq?

    You just have to think like them.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    With all due respect to our legislators, I am unclear as to why they believe we should use scarce government funds to prop up yet another overbuilt resource driven industry. Just because dad, or grandpa, or great grandpa were fishermen (or loggers, or fur trappers, or miners), does not mean that you have the right to continue to pursue the "family business" in the face of changing conditions, declining fish populations, etc.

  • (Show?)

    because it was the government that put us in this position in the first place. If they hadn't propped up the Klamath farmers last year at the expense of salmon, they wouldn't have had to shut things down this year, IMO.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    Declare the disaster, but get the fishers retrained. Even though I was a fisher in Alaska, I prefer sport fishers to commercial fishers any day. Sport fishers are what is best for the economy. Left to their own devices, in clean water, salmon can repopulate to their historical levels. What a tremendous resource. I also lived on the East Coast where their salmon runs were destroyed years ago, but some have been restored. Coming to the West Coast I appreciate what we have here. Let's keep it. It doesn't exist just anywhere.

    As for those farmers, they need drought insurance. If they can make their payments and keep their farms, it will rain again, and they will always have their land. Draining the rivers simply extenuates an already bad situation. Ruining a slamon run sets back recoveries for decades each time.

  • Jennifer W. (unverified)

    Mmmmmm....Let the farmers starve or the "wild" salmon die?

    Sorry salmon.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    What a simple-minded dismissal of a multifaceted problem. Farmers need not starve, salmon species need not die out.

    Sorry commenter.

  • Stryker (unverified)

    Unlike other fisheries, the Pacific Northwest salmon fishery is not burdened with an excess of fishers, but a (hopefully) temporary paucity of supply resulting from decades of mismanagement.

    The Klamath River used to produce millions of salmon, but a century of ill-considered irrigation practices, coupled with passageless dams that cut off hundreds of miles of habitat have dramatically impaired reproduction. For the second year in a row, the salmon returns have fallen below the minimum number of spawners needed to sustain the species. Notice I didn't say recover. Sustaining means more than 30,000, not the millions who used to rush up the river.

    And while Jennifer W displays a callousness usually reserved for Dick Cheney, I wonder if her dismissive attitude also extends to the native american tribes who depend upon a healthy fishery for their very existence. Perhaps that's why the Karuk Tribe has joined with the commercial and sport fishers and the enviros to call for both temporary disaster relief AND funding for Upper Basin restoration.

    The irrigators who continue to believe that growing alfalfa at 4000' level (roughly Government Camp for those of you who drive Hwy 26) in an area that gets less rain than Tucson, AZ, are the folks we need to present with alternatives. Not the fisherman and native people who've managed to succcessfully use and maintain the fisheries for decades.

    Sorry Jennifer, it wasn't 70,000 "wild fish" that died in the fetid, pesticide laden waters of the Klamath in 2002. Them were hatchery fish--mostly chinook! And one of the reasons the fishery is shut down this summer is because they died BEFORE they could spawn.

    One liner bromides may make for easier reading, but they should at least be based in reality.

    Happy 4th!

  • Down Under (unverified)

    The government is going to let GM and Delphi go under. Hundreds of thousands of jobs. No intention of bailing them out. So why the fuss about a few fishermen????

  • stryker (unverified)

    Down Under. I guess because if GM or Dephi go under, I can figure out another way to get places, but if there aren't fish to eat (the reason we wouldn't have any fishermen) I, and millions like me are probably going to get real hungry.

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