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Shadegg fiscal responsibility amendment passes!

GREEN SHEETS EXPRESS - The Congressional Green Sheets Environment and Energy Daily Report

MAY 12, 2000: ON THE SCHEDULE  --  IN THE NEWS ________________________________________________________________________


The House Thursday passed a major conservation funding bill by a wide margin as proponents succeeded in fending off efforts of private property rights advocates to change the measure.

The Conservation and Reinvestment Act (HR 701) passed 315-102 after votes on more than 20 amendments over two days of House floor consideration.

CARA would dedicate more than $3 billion annually from federal offshore oil and gas receipts for impact aid to coastal states and to beef up land acquisition and state fish and game programs.

The bill united House Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) and Resources ranking Democrat George Miller (Calif.) while pitting Young against his usual allies, private property rights advocates.

The House on Thursday:

-- defeated by 310-108 an amendment by Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.), debated Wednesday night, to require that all federal land purchases funded by CARA be located within federal land boundaries established before CARA was enacted -- limiting purchases to so-called "inholdings."

-- defeated by 281-142 an amendment by Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), debated Wednesday night, to make spending under the bill through fiscal 2006 (the length of the current budget resolution) discretionary (subject to the Appropriations committees) rather than mandatory.

-- defeated by 259-166 an amendment by Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-Idaho), debated Wednesday night, to delete a provision that would grant impact aid funds to a county in California, though that county would not receive impact assistance under the formula set out in the bill.

-- defeated by 256-169 an amendment by Reps. Richard "Doc" Hastings (R-Wash.) and Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), debated Wednesday night, to require that half of the $450 million federal share of the Land and Water Conservation Fund -- the main land-buying account -- be used to maintain and manage lands already owned by the federal government.

-- defeated by 238-187 an amendment by New York Republican Reps. John Sweeney and John McHugh, debated Wednesday night, to give local governments the option to object to projects listed under state and federal land acquisition plans under the LWCF.

-- defeated by 266-157 an amendment by Republican Reps. Mike Simpson (Idaho) and Greg Walden (Ore.), debated Wednesday night, to require that before the federal government purchased land under CARA, in states where 50 percent or more of the land was federally owned, the government either dispose of an equal amount of land or receive approval through enactment of a specific state law.

-- defeated by 261-158 an amendment by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) to forbid "adverse condemnation" of private property for projects under the bill's coastal impact section, not just for federal LWCF acquisitions.

-- adopted by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Rick Hill (R-Mont.) that as initially written would have prohibited any federal acquisition in Montana until the secretaries of interior and agriculture came up with a statewide plan for acquisition and disposal of federal lands there. But Hill modified the proposal to direct a study of the issue and drop the prohibition, and Young agreed to accept the amendment as modified.

-- defeated by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) to bar non-profit organizations from using federal funds to purchase conservation easements.

-- defeated by 317-107 an amendment by Chenoweth-Hage to block funding for private organizations and non-profit groups.

-- adopted by 306-116 an amendment by Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to add the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program to the list of programs for which the secretary of agriculture could use CARA funds.

-- defeated by 250-170 an amendment by Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) to allow the Bureau of Land Management to auction public land the agency had identified for disposal.

-- defeated by 365-56 an amendment by Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) restricting CARA funds to states for assistance to incorporated cities, and to counties with a population of 100,000 or more; Ose modified his original proposal, which had set the population threshold at 1 million.

-- defeated by 291-126 a substitute amendment by Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry (R-Texas) that combined variations on several amendments -- including strengthening private property protections and making those provisions apply to programs funded by the bill, increasing payments in lieu of taxes using interest earned on the main CARA fund, addressing maintenance problems in public lands, and making the funding discretionary for the first five years -- that had been debated separately.

Just before final passage, the House voted to add language to the bill by Rep. Peter DeFazio that the Oregon Democrat said would ensure that CARA spending would not diminish spending from the Social Security or Medicare trust funds. DeFazio said the language was designed to strengthen an amendment by Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) adopted by the House Wednesday. That amendment would require Congressional Budget Office certifications for certain financial milestones before CARA spending would be permitted.

Shadegg rose to protest DeFazio's characterization of the language, arguing that Democrats were looking for political cover with a pro-Social Security proposal after voting against his amendment, which had passed on a 216-208 vote.

Young ended the debate with a warning against partisan sniping when the House was on the verge of bipartisan passage of major conservation legislation.

DeFazio's proposal -- a motion to recommit the bill to committee and report it back immediately with the addition of the spending language -- passed on a 413-3 vote.

(See May 8 Congressional Green Sheets Weekly Bulletin, p. 4, May 11 Green Sheets Express.)

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