Rep. Poe: Sell federal land to help pay down the debt

Poe on Tuesday introduced the American Land Act, which would require the federal government to offer 8 percent of the land managed by the Bureau of Land Management for sale each year for the next five years. It would set the same requirements for land owned by the National Forest System.

The plan would put up 24.3 percent of federal lands up for sale over the next five years. Under the bill, H.R. 2588, proceeds from the sale would go to reducing the debt. Poe stressed that National Park land and land owned by the Fish and Wildlife Service would not be put up for sale, which would exempt marshes and other environmentally sensitive lands.

Poe estimates that $200 billion could be raised from these sales, and argued Wednesday that the government owns plenty of land.

"Uncle Sam is the great land owner," Poe said. "He owns 27 percent of all the land in America."

Poe added that the government owns more than 50 percent of the land west of the Mississippi, which is equivalent to most of the land east of the Mississippi and most of Europe.


—This story was updated at 11:04 a.m. to clarify details about the bill.