Bend town hall gets heated over U.S. budget

Rep. Greg Walden holds first day of meetings

POSTED: 11:25 PM PST January 24, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was in Bend Thursday night as part of a nine-day tour of Central and Eastern Oregon. He is making stops for several town hall meetings -- and there's plenty to talk about with his constituents.

About 200 people filled the Bend Senior Center for the town hall, at which Walden was asked about everything from the budget from Benghazi. Afterward, he said even though the discussion was heated at times, it was good to hear what his district wants answers to.

"We need to find a common ground to solve our countries problems, get the economy going again and deal with the debt and deficit issues that rack up the bills for the next generation," Walden said.

The congressman says he has been able to take ideas that he hears at these town halls back to Congress, one of which is the "No budget, No Pay," provision that was added to the recent debt ceiling bill.

"Well, guess what?" said Walden, "I took that one back -- this one has been kicked around before. That ended up in our law that just passed in the House: no budget, no pay for members of Congress until they pass a budget."

Indeed, one of the most contentious points of the Bend town hall was the U.S. budget (or more precisely, a lack of one, not passed for several years). Many people were pointing the finger at the other side and others just wanting a solution to the problem.

The congressman said that's why he pushed the No Budget, No Pay provision.

"In the private sector, in small business, like I was in, if you don't do a budget, you know, you shouldn't get paid," he said. "And I think that's what Americans are screaming at the hilltops: Congress needs to do its job."

Walden will continue his visit to Central Oregon tomorrow in Redmond and Sisters.

He also held a town hall Thursday afternoon in Prineville and concludes his visit with another on Saturday at the Madras Senior Center from 8:30-9:30 a.m.