The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress
The Senate and House are back in session after a weeklong recess. Here’s what’s in and what’s out of the bills currently up for debate, with only 50 days left on the legislative calendar.
IN: Provisions to transfer a popular wildlife refuge. On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is expected to release new language to address the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s financial problems. The rewritten bill is likely to include a modified provision to transfer the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to Puerto Rico. Transfer of the refuge could mean loss of public access for Puerto Ricans whose government is in disarray and presumably ill-equipped to properly manage the refuge’s habitat. The Committee plans to mark up the bill at the end of the month.
OUT: The mission to muck up sage grouse conservation. The Senate Armed Services Committee and subcommittees will hold a three-day mark-up on their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which does not include any language that would halt state and federal collaboration on critical habitat conservation plans for the greater sage grouse.
Before the recess, Congresswoman Tsongas (D-Mass.) offered a motion to strike this type of language from the House NDAA, but the motion failed along party lines. The House Armed Services Committee passed the NDAA with a 60-2 vote, and the legislation is expected to be considered on the House floor next week.
OUT: Using wetlands to address water quality. Before the break, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee marked up and passed “The Water Resources Development Act” (WRDA), which would address water resources that are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The TRCP and its partners are encouraging lawmakers to include language that promotes the use of natural infrastructure, like wetlands, to benefit fish and wildlife while addressing other water resource issues, when the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marks up their version of WRDA on May 19. That language was not included in the Senate version.
IN, still: A controversial amendment that is keeping Senators from regular order on appropriations. Two weeks ago, “The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” failed to pass on the Senate floor, due to controversy over Senator Cotton’s (R-Ark.) amendment that would block the U.S. Energy Department from purchasing heavy water from Iran. On Monday evening, the Senate will try again to pass the energy and water spending bill with a 60-vote threshold, but it’s unlikely that the Senate will pass the legislation.
Next week, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the agriculture appropriations bill. The House will begin considering appropriation bills on the floor next week, too. “The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” is anticipated to be considered first, followed by the energy and water development and agriculture spending bills.
Also IN… town to testify: County commissioners concerned with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule. A House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing will focus on the proposed extension of the public input period and suggestion that 2.0 will lead to a decline in local input on developing land-use plans.
What Else We’re Tracking
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Legislation impacting public lands in California, Oregon, and South Dakota, up for debate in this House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing
The rising costs of natural disasters, to be discussed in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management hearing