Photo via House.gov
Anyone following the saga of the bill that would bring the biggest expansion of the Wilderness Preservation Act in 15 years—otherwise known as the Omnibus Land Bill--know that the it's had a strangely bumpy road. And just when it looked like it was finally ready to pass, and set to fast track its way through the House, it suffered a surprise defeat thanks to a dispute over an odd provision allowing people to carry concealed weapons in national parks. The Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the important conservation bill (77-20), and sent it right back on over to the House of Representatives. So what will the bill's fate be this time?Oh, political gamesmanship. How frustratingly you render proceedings of a straightforward, seemingly no-brainer bill. The Omnibus Land Bill is a combination of bills from congressmen of different states—red and blue alike—and the support for the bill is largely bipartisan. But it got hung up on that one strange gun provision, which Republicans rallied around to prevent the bill's passage. Even though many other Republicans were very much in favor of the bill. I mean, how badly do the bill's opponents need to carry concealed, loaded weapons in National Parks? Is that truly necessary? Hunters don't want to let the deer know they're packin'? Who knows. Thankfully, it looks like it won't matter. Thanks to, well, political gamesmanship: (via the AP)
Because of a parliamentary maneuver adopted in the Senate, the House is expected to take up the bill under a rule that blocks amendments or other motions to derail it. Republicans used the threat of an amendment to allow loaded guns in national parks to defeat the wilderness bill last week.
So it's: I'll see your amendment threat and raise you a parliamentary maneuver, naysayers. So it looks like the bill's got a bright future after all. It's expected to pass the House this go round, and will likely be signed into law by Obama—finally protecting 2 million acres of American wilderness.