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Congress returns from August recess

What is in store for conservation?
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  • photo by Howard Wohlgefahrt
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Congress returns from its month-long recess this week to resume work on a variety of issues, including finalizing the fiscal year 2012 budget. However, last month's budget and debt ceiling negotiations between the Senate, House and the Administration have created confusion about the state of the federal budget. What does this mean for the future funding of conservation programs? 

Conservation programs have experienced steep budget cuts in both congressional committees and floor votes. Unfortunately, future legislation could potentially cut funding for programs vital to waterfowl, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, by even more. Under the legislation signed by the President, Congress has agreed to $917 billion in spending cuts over the next ten years. As part of this deal, a "super committee" has been formed that is responsible for identifying and agreeing to an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions. Republican and Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate will each appoint three members of Congress to serve on a 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Senate Appointees 
  • Sen. Patty Murray of Washington (co-chair) 
  • Sen. Max Baucus of Montana
  • Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
  • Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona 
  • Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania 
House of Representatives Appointees
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas (co-chair) 
  • Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan 
  • Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina 
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra of California 
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland
  • Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan
With more budget cuts on the horizon, it is important that waterfowl hunters continue to remind their elected officials about the economic benefits that sportsmen and the conservation programs they support bring to our nation. Overall, hunting and fishing support more than 1.6 million jobs and generate more than $25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes. Hunters and anglers in the United States spend about $76 billion per year pursuing their outdoor passions.

"Conservation programs provide a great value for both waterfowl and our economy," DU Director of the Governmental Affairs Office Scott Sutherland said. "It is important Congress understand that cuts to natural resources programs not only hurt conservation efforts, but also hurt small businesses and local communities."
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