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Sportsmen's Act Stalls in Senate

On Nov. 26, the Senate voted against waiving the Budget Control Act, preventing a vote on Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Sen. Jon Tester's (D-Mont.) bill, the Sportsmen's Act of 2012. This vote came as a surprise to sportsmen's groups from across the country working hard for its passage.

The Sportsmen's Act is the largest, most important package of measures for the benefit of sportsmen in a generation. It took a great deal of work to bring together no less than 46 of the nation's leading sportsmen and conservation groups, including the NWTF, the NSSF and the NRA.

At issue is language giving the Interior Department authority to increase the price of the federal duck stamp, which raise money to conserve wetlands habitat and are required to hunt migratory waterfowl. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that this provision that boosts the cost from $15 to $25 a stamp, would raise an additional $132 million. But because it would raise both revenue and spending limits under the jurisdiction of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it ran afoul of the Budget Control Act. Notably, duck hunters support the price increase, and the bill would still reduce the deficit by $5 million over the next decade, according to CBO.

Senators have been working together to develop a solution so that the Senate can proceed with a vote. It appears that a solution is close at hand, since Sen. Tester proposed adding a crop insurance provision to the sportsmen's bill to bring it into compliance with budget law.

While it appears the budget concerns are being resolved, the bill is now being held up by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) over the provision to exempt lead ammunition and fishing tackle from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA has denied several petitions by environmental groups to regulate lead ammunition and fishing tackle under TSCA.



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