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Lame duck session can still accomplish conservation priorities

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Congress has adjourned until after the election, but the work for this class of legislators isn't over. 

The 112th Congress has a lame duck session in November and December to pass any remaining legislation. Afterward, a new group of legislators will be ushered in and any pending bills will have to be started from scratch.

Farm Bill

The Farm Bill officially expired on Sept. 30. The House of Representatives has yet to take a final vote on the bill, even though the Senate and House Agriculture Committee have passed a five-year version. 

If the House doesn't vote and pass their version of the Farm Bill before January, farm regulation will revert back to an outdated set of laws created in the 1930s and '40s. While many farmers may not feel immediate effects from the expired Farm Bill, new contracts under the bill's conservation programs can't be enrolled.

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced before the election recess that the House will take up the Farm Bill when they return. We must continue to work to tell representatives to pass a five-year Farm Bill with conservation program provisions as soon as possible.

Sportsmen's Act (S.3525)

In their last procedural vote before recess, the Senate overwhelming agreed to make the Sportsmen's Act the first piece of legislation to be voted on in November.

The act is a compilation of 19 conservation, hunting and fishing bills. Among other bills, the act includes the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for five years, a provision allowing increases to the federal duck stamp and the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp.

Ducks Unlimited is one of 56 conservation, hunting and fishing organizations that voiced support of the Sportsmen's Act.

What's next?

Representatives and senators need to hear from their constituents that passing a five-year Farm Bill and the Sportsmen's Act is a priority for the 112th Congress. While legislators are in their home states and districts campaigning, call their local office to find upcoming events, ask to schedule a meeting or tell their staff about these conservation priorities.


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