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From the Desk of Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Written by Lori Chavez-DeRemer on Dec. 14th, 2023
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As a small business owner, a former mayor, and a mother of twin daughters, I understand how federal policies can have a significant – and sometimes unintended – impact on our communities and on our families. I’ve been working hard to put my experience to work by advancing pragmatic legislation that supports businesses and workers, spurs job creation, and drives economic growth in Oregon.

From 2020 to 2022, the cost of child care in Oregon soared as much as 37 percent – forcing many parents to choose between staying at home full time and staying in the workforce. Ultimately, parents leaving their jobs due to soaring child care costs affects the future success of local businesses, which is why investing in child care is also a critical investment in the future growth of our communities. I’ve teamed up with Congressman Salud Carbajal to introduce the Child Care Investment Act. By improving several existing tax credits, our bipartisan proposal would increase access to affordable child care for working families. It’s been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and continues gaining support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Like child care, I know health care costs can make or break a small business. The House of Representatives passed legislation, known as the CHOICE Arrangement Act, which would expand association health plans and reduce administrative burdens – helping small business owners provide employees with more affordable options. Separately, I’m leading a bipartisan proposal that would shine a light on deceptive pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices. The Health DATA Act, which passed the Education and the Workforce Committee in July, would ensure PBMs are following the law and can’t intentionally withhold important health benefit information from employers. By bolstering transparency, this commonsense legislation would help lower health care costs for Oregon businesses.

To continue growing the workforce and ensure workers are able to meet today’s economic demands, investing in education and training programs must be a priority. The National Apprenticeship Act and the Youth Workforce Readiness Act are two bipartisan proposals that I helped introduce to expand apprenticeship opportunities and prepare the next generation to enter the workforce. As I travel the 5th District, I’ve had the opportunity to stop at union training centers and community colleges to see these programs in action. It’s clear that they are effective and continued support is essential.

Finally, business leaders across the state have expressed deep concern about the harmful impact crime, drug abuse, and homelessness are having on economic development. From the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act to a bill addressing illegal and dangerous street racing, I’m working across the aisle to improve public safety and protect Oregon businesses. The House of Representatives has also passed a bill that I cosponsored, the HALT Fentanyl Act, which would supply law enforcement with the tools needed to keep fentanyl out of our communities. 

Additionally, I joined Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri to introduce the bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act, which would expand affordable housing by reforming the Housing Choice Voucher Program. I’ve also authored my own homelessness legislation: the DIRECT Care for the Homeless Act. This is another bipartisan proposal that seeks to expand care for mental health and substance use disorders directly to unsheltered homeless individuals in need. Improving safety and housing conditions in our communities are both crucial for fostering further economic growth and development. 

From working to lower child and health care costs to investing in a future ready workforce and improving public safety, I’ll continue working hard to bring the voice of Oregon’s business community to the policymaking tables on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a small business owner and former Happy Valley mayor, represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer

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