Score another victory for political gridlock in Washington, D.C., and this time anglers and hunters are the losers.
In an argument over procedure, the U.S. Senate failed to move The Sportsman’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525) forward. Vote was almost strictly on party lines, with Republicans responsible for this one.
Republicans support most of what the bill would do, but blocked the legislation because of objections about spending on conservation programs, which would violate budget rules. Democrats pointed out that the bill also would raise money.
“The shocking aspect of this bill’s defeat – one that would have such a positive impact on anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation - is that it occurred over a budget argument giving the Secretary of the Interior the ability to increase the duck stamp price $10, thus pumping more dollars into wetland conservation for both fisheries and wildlife benefits” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).
“Adding salt to the wound is that the increase is strongly supported by waterfowl hunters who champion the user pay-user benefit concept for fish and wildlife conservation along with all sportsmen and women as well as the fishing and hunting industries,” said Robertson. “The Congressional Budget Office has stated that overall, S. 3525 would reduce the nation’s deficit by $5 million.”
“It’s a cruel twist that the Senate failed to move S. 3525 over a budget procedural question when in the end the bill adds to conservation and would most certainly have a positive impact on the nation’s economy,” he continued. “It would truly be a tragedy if this historic piece of legislation went down in flames due to partisanship and simmering disputes over Senate rules and procedures that have nothing to do with the merits of the bill.”
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership added this:
“With their backs up against the so-called fiscal cliff, elected officials from both sides of the aisle locked antlers again. American sportsmen are paying the price.
“Hunters and anglers are experiencing the fallout from congressional inaction as access dwindles, development diminishes opportunities for sportsmen and funding for conservation disappears.”
Keep America Fishing shows you how your senators voted.
Here’s a news story about the vote.