Legislation has broad bipartisan support, including President Trump and hunting and conservation organizations
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress to introduce the Great American Outdoors Act. The legislation is an investment in our public lands. First, the bill permanently funds the existing Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) which increases access to public lands. The bill also importantly helps maintain public lands by creating a new fund to address the backlog of deferred maintenance in National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management assets, Wildlife Refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education school construction.
Idaho’s National Forests have some of the largest deferred maintenance needs, such as roads and trails, while Yellowstone National Park has over $585 million in deferred maintenance costs. The bill does not spend taxpayer funds but instead utilizes existing funding from energy production on federal lands and waters. The legislation is based off a framework of bipartisan legislation the Congressman Simpson originally authored in 2017 called the LAND Act. The bill is supported by both Idaho and national conservation groups in addition to President Trump.
“I am very excited to see the Great American Outdoors Act being introduced in the House and I am proud to lead those efforts,” said Congressman Simpson. “In 2017, I sat down with public lands groups and we decided that fixing the backlog of maintenance and preserving those lands through LWCF was a partnership that makes sense, which is why I wrote the LAND Act. Seeing that vision become a reality through the Great American Outdoors Act and having the support of so many diverse stakeholders, including the President of the United States, is a testament to how important our public lands are. At the end of the day, and through these trying and unprecedented times, we realize the outdoors are why we live in Idaho. This legislation ensures generations to come will be able enjoy these amazing places as we do today.”
The legislation was introduced in the House by Congressman Simpson, Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congressman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Congressman John Katko (R-NY), Congressman T.J. Cox (D-CA), Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Congresswoman Kendra Horn (D-OK), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a vote on the Great American Outdoors Act, which has since been planned for the week of June 8th, and the House is expected to consider the bill as well.