Republicans have yet to return; if they don't, Democrats say, 'Everything will fail.'
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- Pressure continued to rise and the House and Senate chambers remained empty Wednesday at the Oregon Capitol, one day after most House Republicans joined their Senate colleagues in a walkout protest against the cap and trade bill.
Senate Bill 1530 aims to reduce greenhouse emissions, but Republicans believe the legislation would hurt rural Oregonians by raising fuel prices, among other impacts.
Without a quorum and with Republicans gone, Rep. Alissa Keny- Guyer, D-Portland, says everything will fail.
"They should be here to do the work, and instead they are having a taxpayer-funded vacation, frankly, not showing up for their work," Guyer said.
Guyer has been working on a bill to improve housing for rural and homeless communities and says the Republican walkout has caused a dilemma.
Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who like House counterpart Cheri Helt stayed at the Capitol, said Wednesday he is a bit more optimistic that there's still time to resolve the impasse and get important legislation passed.
"There's still time left in the session, which is part of the reason I am still here. We have a precious few days left," Knopp said.
One of the bills Knopp is working on would freeze property taxes for low income seniors. He says in order to get the Republicans back in the building, democrats need to amend the cap and trade bill and send it to voters.
"The best way Democrats can help Republicans return is to remove the emergency clause from Senate Bill 1530, which is the cap and trade bill, or refer to the people," Knopp said.
Held told NewsChannel 21 she's working on a bill that would increase funding for agencies serving unaccompanied youth. Helt said she's keeping the faith that her counterparts will return to pass legislation this session.
"I'm not ready to give up," she said. "I'm here and fighting and digging in. I am really hoping that we find the lost art of compromise. That's what I'm focused on while I am here -- that we bring forward things that work for all Oregonians."
It's the third time in 10 months Republicans have walked out in opposition of legislation backed by Democrats, who hold super majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats need some Republicans on hand to reach a quorum.