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The Times hears from readers about clean energy, global poverty and healthcare costs.

Congress must follow Legislature's lead on clean energy

We have a moral obligation to future generations to pass along a healthier planet.

Oregon legislators passed House Bill 2021, which will largely eliminate carbon emissions by 2040, setting one of the nation's most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

Now it is time for Congress to do their part. The American Jobs plan is our chance to put our country on the path to 100% clean energy, provide equitable solutions so that communities that are the most harmed by toxic pollution are prioritized. This is a huge opportunity for creating high-quality, union jobs to rebuild the middle class while simultaneously addressing climate change.

Investing in our economy, infrastructure and climate action is what the American Jobs Plan provides — we can't wait any longer.

Ann Scherner, Tigard

Global poverty demands lawmakers' action

Oregon is home to thousands of refugees, in our classrooms, relying on the help of a stranger, or owning their own businesses.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, the World Bank estimates that in 2021, we will see the first rise in global extreme poverty in 20 years. The impacts of COVID-19 are expected to cause between 143 million and 163 million people to fall into poverty just this year. Oregon will feel the effects of this rising catastrophe.

Now is the time for our Oregon senators to advocate for an increase in international poverty-reducing development and humanitarian assistance in fiscal year 2022. The innovative programs that this funding supports can help ensure that decades of development gains are not lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot ignore the plight of refugees.

The U.S. spends less than one half of 1% of the total budget for poverty-reducing development and humanitarian aid. These funds support programs working to end world hunger and malnutrition. We have seen the positive effects of funding for vital humanitarian programs.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, take the lead in securing additional aid for these essential life-saving programs.

Matt Cato, Southwest Portland

Don't limit innovation to lower care costs

As your June 30 article, "Wyden: New legislation must hold drug prices in check," detailed, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is going to play an important role in any federal legislation intended to lower health care costs.

First, I appreciate those efforts. Americans pay too much for healthcare. A holistic solution is needed and decision-makers take extra care to minimize the negative impacts of any bill they hope to pass. It is great that the senator recognized the importance of innovation in medicine, but I would not be so quick to dismiss the legitimate concerns about how legislation if done without care, may act as a break on medical innovation.

Read our June 30, 2021, story on U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's thoughts on drug prices.

Millions of residents across Oregon — and the entire country — rely on treatments and cures to lead happy, healthy lives. We need affordable healthcare, but we also need access to treatments. For proof, look no further than the COVID-19 pandemic. It's safe to say that without the work of our doctors this past year, we'd probably still battling the worst of this virus.

Price-setting policies without holistically addressing the real problem would harm the very innovation we've all benefited from. Countless studies have shown that these policies without additional support can stifle the future development of drugs.

Also, research only brings more research. Although the COVID-19 vaccines were delivered in record time, these shots were built upon years of previous science. If we put up roadblocks on the road to medical innovation, who knows what kinds of life-saving treatments we could be forgoing?

For the sake of patients everywhere, I encourage Sen. Wyden to continue the important work of addressing healthcare costs without impeding medical innovation.

Marianne Ritchie, Southwest Portland

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