Sen Merkley responds to State of the Union

A Message from Jeff on the State of the UnionOur nation faces three incredibly daunting challenges today: the corruption of our democracy, the undermining of the fundamentals for thriving families, and carbon pollution driving climate chaos and threatening the future of our planet. The President’s State of the Union, unfortunately, did not address any of these major issues.My response to the president is this: The state of our union will only be stronger when we invest in working families; when we reclaim our position as a beacon of hope and humanity in the world; and when we embrace our own diversity as the fundamental strength of our nation.

Jeff’s State of the Union GuestsContinuing to shine a light on the horrifying humanitarian crisis of family separation at the southern border, Jeff’s guests to the State of the Union were a mother and a daughter who were separated by this cruel policy. Albertina Contreras Teletor and her daughter Yakelin Garcia Contreras—who turned 12 years old Tuesday—were separated for a terrifying two months at the southern border after fleeing Guatemala, fearing for their lives.To learn more about this family’s harrowing experience and why the United States must never again institute a child separation policy, watch here.

Fighting to Fund Schools and Public Safety in the Wake of the Shutdown 
Across America, more than 700 counties and 4,400 school districts in more than 40 states rely on payments from the Secure Rural Schools program to fund schools and essential services like roads and public safety. And this program provides especially vital resources to Oregon’s timber counties.Jeff worked with colleagues from across the aisle to urge federal officials to deliver these vital payments as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the government shutdown. You can read Jeff’s letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Acting Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt here.

Protecting Americans from Predatory Robocall SchemesEvery day, American consumers are targeted by predatory robocall schemes designed to trick individuals into giving away personal or financial information. Jeff shares Oregonians’ concern about this issue, and reported a recent suspicious call he received from a scammer pretending to be an FBI officer.Jeff pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency responsible for regulating these call schemes, to detail their current and future efforts, and to do more to address this pervasive issue. To read the full text of Jeff’s letter to the FCC, click here.

Holding the Saudi Government Responsible for Helping Criminals Escape Justice in OregonIt has been reported that the Saudi government has helped orchestrate escapes for multiple suspects awaiting trials for felony crimes in Oregon, including one who killed a young Oregonian in a hit-and-run.“Saudi Arabia’s blatant disrespect for international norms cannot be allowed to stand,” Jeff said. “We should all be able to agree that any national that helps their citizens escape from the law needs to be held fully accountable.”That’s why Jeff introduced two bills, the ESCAPE of Saudi Nationals Act and the Preserving American Justice Act, that would impose serious consequences on Saudi Arabia, as well as any other nation that helps their citizens cheat the American justice system.