Senate panel eyes vote on parks funding bills after key deadline

Senate panel eyes vote on parks funding bills after key deadline
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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is likely to vote on a bill to renew a key funding program for parks, but not until after the program’s authority lapses.

A spokesman for Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' MORE (Wash.), the panel’s top Democrat, said lawmakers are hoping for a Tuesday meeting to vote on Cantwell’s bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

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Tuesday would mark two days after the last law to authorize the LWCF expires. After Sunday, the program can still make payments, but the money collected from offshore oil and natural gas drillers that would usually go into the fund instead goes to general government funding.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE (R-Alaska), the committee’s chairwoman, said only that it is hoping for a Tuesday markup “that involves a variety of lands bills,” but would not specify the bills.

The committee has not sent out a formal notice of its planned meeting, a necessary step in advance of the markup.

The fund takes a portion of the revenue the government gets from offshore drilling, and puts it toward federal, state and local park, recreation and conservation projects.

Conservationists, congressional Democrats and some Republicans have made an all-out push in recent weeks to get the LWCF renewed. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes Trump to hold campaign rally in North Carolina day before special House election Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post MORE (R-N.C.) has held up unrelated legislation in order to see the program's renewal.

Senators are likely to vote on Cantwell’s LWCF renewal legislation, which would authorize the program indefinitely. It would also require that 1.5 percent of the money paid from the fund go to increasing access to public land by hunters, anglers and other recreation purposes.

The House Natural Resources Committee passed a bipartisan bill this month to indefinitely reauthorize LWCF. It would require that at least 40 percent of the money go to state projects and 40 percent to federal, as well as 3 percent to recreation access.

The Senate Energy Committee is also likely to vote on the Restore Our Parks Act from Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ohio) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit MORE (D-Va.), which would create a new parks fund from the revenue from energy production on federal land and offshore.

The fund would use half of the energy revenue that isn’t dedicated toward other sources, and would go toward addressing the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog on National Park Service land.