Partisan politics upends earlier efforts by many members of both parties to pass a sportsmen's package
07-10-2014 // Judith Kohler
The Senate voted 41-56 Thursday against cloture to end debate on the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 (S. 2363), co-sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and John Thune (R-SD), effectively killing the bill for this session. Many of the same cosponsors of the bill voted against it, making the Sportsmen’s Act the latest of several bipartisan measures to fall to partisan politics this legislative session.
"Today a bipartisan bill with widespread public support has been torpedoed by unrelated congressional politics," said Collin O’ Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO. "The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act would have secured funding for the conservation of wetlands and other wildlife habitat, and expanded hunting, fishing and other recreational opportunities on public lands. The National Wildlife Federation, its partners and a wide array of organizations and citizens fought hard for the bill. We will keep fighting with the many senators from both parties who support wildlife conservation to ensure a bright future for wildlife and all the people who enjoy the great outdoors."
Several senators tried to add amendments on unrelated issues including competing sides on gun policy. There were a couple anti-conservation amendments, including a provision to undercut the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed action to restore protections to many of our nation’s waterways and wetlands, and a provision to sell off America’s public lands — both of which would be unacceptable to most sportsmen.
"Fishing and hunting generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually for the American economy, and sportsmen’s and women’s dollars and volunteer time are vital for conserving wildlife habitat," O’Mara concluded. "Sadly, despite broad bipartisan support for the legislation, wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts lose out because the Senate was unable to put their differences aside and do something positive for our outdoor heritage."