GOP senators push bill to protect parks in future government shutdowns

A group of GOP senators is pushing to protect national parks in the event of a future government shutdown.

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation late Wednesday that would allow states to keep national parks open during another government shutdown by speeding up the agreement process between states and the Interior Department.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) co-sponsored the bill.

The same Republican lawmakers joined by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are attempting to tack on an amendment to their chamber's Defense authorization bill that would reimburse states that paid for the operation of parks during the 16-day shutdown.

All five senators represent states that signed an agreement with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to reopen national sites for a set number of days.

The amendment proposed for the National Defense Authorization Act, which is being debated on the Senate floor this week, was filed Tuesday.

It is unlikely that the amendment will receive a vote, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Hill.

There's no agreement yet to consider amendments on the Defense bill.

Flake plans to continue to look for a path forward on the amendment, a spokeswoman from Flake's office told The Hill.