Sportsmen’s bill deserves coverage over dysfunction

In Washington, it is a truism that controversy and partisan strife make a better story than good bipartisan policy. Nowhere is this more evident than The Hill’s July 7 piece, “Dems vote against sportsmen’s bill over gun control objections.”

In this piece, the author states that the bill is an attempt to help red-state Democrats in tough election races. Yet the author chooses this spin as opposed to the fact that the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act has 45 cosponsors, nearly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. It is sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), among many others. It is truly bipartisan.

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The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act would enhance public access, improve fish and wildlife habitat and benefit tens of millions of American hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Not since the era of Theodore Roosevelt has conservation been a partisan issue. Presidents as diverse as Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan embraced conservation, as have congressional leaders Ted Stevens and Tip O’Neill.  

If the bill passes Congress and is signed into law, will politicians of both parties claim victory and show their constituents that they set aside partisanship for the good of the country? We certainly hope so, and we hope that The Hill will cover this feel-good story with as much gusto as it has stories of congressional dysfunction.

From Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Washington, D.C.


Climate change needs market-based solutions 

The costs of addressing climate change have too often been used to justify congressional inaction. But as The Hill’s July 3 “Climate change, development strain wildfire budgets” illustrates, the costs of inaction are rising. Federal and state spending on fighting forest fires, which is now running in the range of $2 billion to $4 billion annually, is just one example. The costs to protect our coasts from rising sea levels and to recover from extreme weather events are also on the rise.

The recent “Risky Business” report by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson and Tom Steyer did an excellent job of assessing these costs. This report should be mandatory reading for every member of Congress. Another recent assessment by the nonpartisan firm Regional Economic Models Inc. found that the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of reducing our carbon emissions. In fact, the report found that a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend would actually create more than 2 million jobs while reducing carbon emissions by 33 percent in 10 years. Market-based, revenue-neutral approaches such as this have been endorsed by economists across the political spectrum and by increasing numbers of Republican leaders, including George Shultz and Hank Paulson.

Continued inaction on climate change can no longer be justified on economic grounds. Bipartisan support for a market-based solution is growing and the time for action is now.

From Eric Ettlinger, Berkeley, Calif.


Send military advisers 
to southern US border

Once the mainstream media began its recent focus on the Central American surge of children invading this nation’s southern border, things just haven’t added up as to how this quandary began, and why it has been allowed to continue without abatement. 

Given that thousands of these mere children have migrated approximately 800 miles from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to Texas and California, the foreboding question is, how did they get here? 

There is but one logical conclusion: given the prodigious influence of sophisticated Mexican drug gangs and cartels, it becomes obvious these networks have coalesced with, and are a part of, various human trafficking syndicates that bear the responsibility for this human wave-like transmigration to the United States. 

So what do we have now? Just as 300 American military personnel have been sent to Iraq to advise and instruct those governmental officials on the methodologies to secure their borders, the same must be done, NOW, to secure and defend this nation’s southern frontier from this human trafficking onslaught, the manifestation of which now threatens the strategic and national security interests of the United States.

From Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.


 

Highway Trust Fund was kicked down the road

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood should look in the mirror before complaining about the inaction of Congress in funding the national Highway Trust Fund. This vital funding source to cities, states and transportation agencies, used to pay for highway and transit projects, is running out of money. As a senior Republican Party congressman representing Illinois’s 18th Congressional District from 1995 to 2009, he joined past presidents and Congress in kicking the can down the road. The national gasoline tax used to support the Highway Trust fund was last raised to 18.4 cents in 1993. LaHood was quiet as a mouse when it came to introducing or voting for legislation to raise the gasoline tax. Taking this action years ago would have resulted in an ample Highway Trust Fund today.

From Larry Penner, Great Neck, N.Y.