November 28, 2012
U.S. Senate Kills Sportsmen's Act of 2012 Over $10 Duck Stamp Increase - 18
by Ben Lamb
Ten bucks. That’s what killed the progressive, popular, good-government Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 yesterday.
Ten bucks, or the increase of the cost of a federal duck stamp from $15 to $25.
But that $10 created a partisan divide large enough to kill something that hunters and anglers have been asking for: congressional help to provide public access to public land, end the nonsense of lead-ammo restrictions, and allow a few polar bears to be liberated from their importation purgatory.
Here’s the fact: On Monday, November 26th, the United States Senate beat a well-worn path of partisanship and pettifoggery (look it up!) by voting down the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. They did it in such a manner that they avoided being labeled anti-sportsman by the NRA, while ultimately catering to the whims of fringe environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, and anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society of The United States.
On a procedural motion to waive the budget rules and allow for an increase in the cost of the federal duck stamp from $15 to $25, the United Sates Senate proved once again that no good deed goes unpunished.
If you follow all the technicalities, the $10 increase violated a provision from 2011 that was supposed to prevent fee increases. Forget that those of us who buy the duck stamp do it gladly and voluntarily, and know that at $15, it hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation. It was time to raise the cost of the stamp. But the no-new-taxes faction of the Congress used it as their lever to kill the entire Sportsmen’s Act, which would have been the biggest public-lands bill in a generation. The sad fact is that most Republicans are still smarting over the re-election of the bill’s sponsor, Montana Sen. Jon Tester. That’s the real reason they killed the bill, behind the guise of procedural posturing.
Are you upset? You should be. Congress is broken, and the place to begin fixing it would seem to be the U.S. Senate, where this little dalliance into partisan bickering and parliamentary gamesmanship is the best example of why, even when everyone in America (with exception to a few cranks and eco-fascists) comes together and expects something done, Congress finds a way to fumble on the 5 yard line.
There is a glimmer of hope that the bill might be resurrected. You can help resuscitate it by calling the Senate hotline at (202) 224-4124 or find your Senator’s contact info here.
If enough of us howl, maybe Congress will get the message that we actually care about what they don’t do as much as we care about what they do.
About Open Country
Hunters and anglers across the nation consistently list one challenge as their primary obstacle to spending more time in the field: Access.
Outdoor Life's Open Country program aims to tackle that issue head on and with boots on the ground. The program highlights volunteer-driven efforts to improve access along with habitat improvements to make existing public lands even better places to hunt and fish. The program's goal is to substantially increase sportsman's access across the country by promoting events that make a difference.
Here on Open Country's blog page, contributors take a close look at access issues across the country. Some are public-policy discussions, where we investigate the nuances of public access. In other blogs, we shine a light on attempts to turn public recreation opportunities into private hunting and fishing domains. In still other blogs, we interview decision makers about access issues. Together, we fight for the ability of America's hunters and anglers to have a place to swing a gun or wet a line.
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