White House opposes sportsmen's bill, but no veto threat

The White House said late Monday that it opposes a House bill aimed at ensuring recreational hunting and fishing can take place on federal land, but stopped short of saying President Obama would veto the bill.

The bill up this week — H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act — combines several bills. Among other things, it would allow the import of polar bear trophies from Canada that were shot before May 2008, which is when polar bears were put on the Endangered Species List.

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The bill also eases environmental rules that impair hunting and fishing activities on federal land.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the Obama administration said it's fine with language on polar bears, and also supports a proposal to allow conservation licenses to be issued electronically. It also supports language that would exclude some sport fishing equipment from being classified as a toxic substance.

But the administration said it opposes language that would require federal agencies to allow recreational shooting, fishing and sport hunting on national monument lands. It also said it opposes the idea of prohibiting enforcement of rules that prohibit firearms at water resources development projects.

"The administration looks forward to working with Congress to enact sportsmen and recreation legislation that addresses the concerns raised with certain provisions of H.R. 3590," the White House said.

The House is expected to approve a rule governing floor consideration of the bill Tuesday afternoon. After that, it will debate the bill, and then start work on 11 amendments that have been made in order.