Senate advances Sportsmen's bill, aims to finish before Thanksgiving break

On their first vote since returning from the election, S. 3525 advanced on a 92-5 vote. After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filled the amendment tree and then said the next things the Senate will address are cybersecurity and the defense authorization bill.

ADVERTISEMENT
The sportsmen package combines bill from both the House and Senate and Republicans and Democrats, including Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) Billfish Conservation Act and Sen. Roger Wicker’s (R-Miss.) duck stamp legislation.

The Sportsmen’s Act increases hunters' and fishermen’s access to federal lands. To get more Democrats on board, the bill includes conservation measures, such as establishing a National Fish Habitat Board and extending the sale of stamps, the proceeds from which go to conservation funds that help elephants, tigers, rhinos, great apes and marine turtles.

Before the vote, Tester said the bill is the largest package of sportsmen bills and that is was important to pass because, “hunting and fishing is not just recreation, it’s a critical part of our economy.”

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voted against the motion.

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it supports the legislation and what it would do for the outdoor economy and community-based conservation efforts.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Tom Udall (N.M.) and Mark Warner (Va.) are all co-sponsors of the legislation.