Federal Senate Considers Legislation That Would Grant $ 2 Billion To Preserve National Parks

Federal Senate Considers Legislation That Would Grant $ 2 Billion To Preserve National Parks

Washington, D.C. – In a time of national crisis, the US Senate managed to unify in support of an issue that both parties celebrate: outdoor recreation.

As the country grapples with the coronavirus, economic downturn, and protests of racism, lawmakers struck a bipartisan deal in an election year to double spending on a popular conservation program and spend nearly $ 2 billion a year improving and maintain national parks.

If passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, the law would be the most significant conservation law in nearly half a century. The measure, ready for a vote in the Senate next week, would allocate $ 2.8 billion annually to conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance.

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“Americans have been spending a lot of time indoors” as a result of the pandemic, said Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the main sponsors of the proposal. “They are ready to go out into the open.”

Gardner and his Republican Montana colleague Steven Daines have pushed for the measure, first convincing majority leader Mitch McConnell that it should be debated, and then persuading Trump on a visit to the White House.

McConnell told the two senators, who are seeking reelection this year, that he would not consider the measure unless Trump backed it. Gardner and Daines are among the most vulnerable senators in the November elections, and both represent states where the economy and outdoor tourism are of great importance.

In February at the White House, senators showed Trump maps and photos of their states and highlighted the importance of conservation for the west of the country and pointed out how the measure would influence his legacy. Trump, who has repeatedly tried to cut funds for land and water, and quickly tweeted his support.

Three months later, the law could be passed on Tuesday.

“The United States deserves a break right now, and outdoor recreation is restorative,” said Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, a veteran advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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