Senate lines up major national parks, federal lands bill for potential vote

Senate lines up major national parks, federal lands bill for potential vote
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The Senate on Thursday lined up a major federal lands bill for a potential vote next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE's (R-Ky.) action paves the way for a procedural vote on the measure, which could happen after the upper chamber finishes consideration of the Middle East foreign policy bill.

The legislation would allow the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a key revenue stream for parks and recreation facilities, to operate indefinitely. Its authority expired last October.

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It also includes provisions aimed at increasing recreational access to federal land, and has dozens of specific local provisions to add to national parks and other land holdings.

The legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, came close to passing through the Senate in December, and was expected to easily pass through the House as well.

But Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill Antitrust enforcers in turf war over Big Tech Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRepublicans wary of US action on Iran EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Rand Paul: Almost every mass shooter 'is sending off signals' MORE (R-Ky.) held it up, leading to an impassioned late-night exchange on the Senate floor between Lee and Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away MORE (R-Colo.).

“While we are disappointed that this package could not pass last year, we remain committed to its provisions and the spirit of our bicameral agreement,” Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Alaska) and Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellWill Congress act to stop robocalls? Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Hillicon Valley: Trump reportedly weighing executive action on alleged tech bias | WH to convene summit on online extremism | Federal agencies banned from buying Huawei equipment | Lawmakers jump start privacy talks MORE (D-Wash.), the lead sponsors of the legislation, said in a statement earlier this month when they reintroduced the lands bill.

“The vast majority of bills in this package have been considered through the regular order process and have strong support from members of both parties. States and communities throughout the west, in particular, are counting on us to work together to pass them into law.”

Murkowski is chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which assembled the agreement, and Cantwell was its ranking Democrat in the last Congress.

Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE (R-Utah), the leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee, both participated in negotiations toward the Senate’s package and said they plan to usher it through the House if it passes the upper chamber.