A bipartisan conservation bill remained in limbo this week as Senate Republicans and Democrats worked to resolve GOP objections over the measure’s budgetary implications.
The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, a collection of 17 bills aimed at protecting habitat and providing better access for hunters and anglers, failed on a vote of 50 to 44 Monday night after Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) complained that the bill violated Senate budget rules.
The measure would raise the price of duck stamps, which hunters affix to their hunting licenses, to $25 from $15. Because the federal government uses the proceeds from the stamps to buy wetlands used by waterfowl, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this would mean $132 million in new spending in the next decade.
Sessions argued that this expenditure would violate the Budget Control Act of 2011, which set spending caps on congressional panels including the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program. “When we make an agreement, I think we ought to adhere to it,” Sessions said.