tv U.S. Senate Senators Murkowski Lee Gardner Cantwell Daines on Public... CSPAN December 24, 2018 4:04am-4:56am EST
the senate on c-span 2. the senate has put off until january consideration of a public lands package after a pair of lawmakers objected to the bill. here is a look at debate from the senate floor starting with the chair over the environment public works committee. mr. pre, i would ask unanimous consent on behalf of chairman hatch that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the lands package bill. i further ask consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, reserving the right to object, we've got a bill here that we received at 10:00 this morning, 680 pages long. i've spent many hours reviewing it. this is a bill that came out of a committee on which i serve.
i've been trying for weeks, many weeks through the chairman of that committee and her staff to get language or at least get an outline of this. we weren't able to do that until today at 10:00 a.m.. even after we got that we asked at least for an outline -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. lee: at least for an outline of this bill. the presiding officer: the senator will hold. will you please take your conversations out of the floor. the senate will be in order. mr. lee: i asked you for an outline for a summary of the bill text from the committee staff, from the chairman's staff. they didn't respond to us. they wouldn't give it to us, just as they haven't for weeks. we got this, the closest thing to a summary, from a lobbyist. we had to wait to get it from a lobbyist. now, this is of great impact to my state. this bill creates 1.3 million acres of wilderness, about half which is in my state. this bill permanently
reauthorizes the understand that and water conservation fund, an entity that's been used to acquire more federal land. coming from a state where two-thirds of the land is owned by the federal government, where we can't do anything without leave from the federal government, this hurts. coming from a state where we've had about 2 million acres of federal land declared as monuments through presidential proclamations, this hurts. i've made what i consider a very reasonable offer, and i ask that it be accepted. it involves two words. i want the inclusion of two words to this bill, two words. add the words "for utah" to the antiquities act. i will accept this bill and agree to its adoption if these two words are added to the antiquities act, the words "or utah." i ask that my colleagues accept this. the presiding officer: will
the senator so modify her request? ms. murkowski: mr. chairman? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: excuse me. mr. president, i think it is important to recognize that while the text, in fairness to my friend from utah, was just laid down this morning, these are bills, these are measures, these are matters that have not only been before our committee but before the subcommittee upon which the senator is the chairman and has an opportunity to have heard many of those public lands bills. this was a very highly negotiated process by the four corners, not only senator cantwell and myself on this side but our colleagues on the house side, to see what could be put together by way of a package in terms of the contours of that package. colleagues will remember that around this body, unfortunately, when it comes to public lands
matters, many of these are very, very parochial in nature. whether it is a conveyance that allows for a water utility to be able to proceed or a conveyance that will allow for a school to have a facility there, it's pretty parochial. these don't warm to the floor for debate and -- these don't come to the floor for debate and panel. traditionally, it might not be a perfect process, but we bundle them up at the end of the year. so what we have done is we've provided to not only members of the committee the bills that we have had an opportunity to have heard, we have outlined that universe is -- outline what had that universe is and in fairness to my colleague and his comment, it wasn't until the very end that we knew exactly what was going to fall in based on negotiations with our house
colleagues and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. but what i would offer up to members is that this has been an extraordinarily collaborative process in terms of those priorities that we see represented within this bill. just on our side of the aisle alone, there's some 43 members that either have bills that they have authored or are the cosponsor of. matters that are important to their states and then matters that are perhaps more globally important, whether it is lwcf -- and i understand the senator's position on that -- but we also recognize that there are a great number of members on the republican and democratic side that are very supportive of some form of reauthorization of lwcf. we have a sportsman's package in here that many, many of us have been working on. in fact, this is the fourth congress now -- the fourth congress that we have tried to advance these priorities for many of the sportsmen and women
in the country. so we have attempted to work through some of the issues that my colleague from utah has raid. we have offered to withdraw very significant legislation that our president pro tempore himself has offered. that's not something that i really willingly wanted to do, but in an effort to try to get a broader lands package that recognizes the needs of so many, we've made some significant offers. now, my colleague has asked for a simple two words. i happen to believe, as one who comes from a state where we have said no more to the antiquities act without some limitations, i understand the concerns and i understand the effort that he has made repeatedly. i also understand that the politics on this side of the aisle and in the other body are
such that it was not an acceptable offer or an acceptable amendment. and so we are where we are now where i come before you to make the offer to the allow us an opportunity to vote on this lands package, to move it over to the house, and to finish this off. i understand that we do not have that consent. what -- what we have come to this evening is a recognition that there is a desire amongst members in this body to see this package through. and so the leader has committed and the minority leader has committed that when we return in january, this will be, if not the first order of business, it will be a matter that will be before this body within the first couple weeks, and we will turn to it, and it will be a package that we will not have
begun all over but something that members can look to tonight. so this will be an opportunity to study every single page that you want, because you'll have an opportunity to vote on that thumbs up or thumbs down in early january when we return. but this is something, again, that i wish that we had been able to resolve. i wish that we had been able to, in fairness, to be able to provide for greater opportunity for members to review this before these final hours. in fairness, this is just wednesday night. we've -- we've now continued until after the new year. but we probably had another couple days that we could have worked on it. that didn't work in our favor. i regret that. but i want to thank those who have worked doggedly on both sits to try to come to an
agreement so we can resolve this finally and fully. so many of these issues that are so important to people back in their counties, in their municipalities, in their burroughs in their states, and we're going to put it it on hold for yet another month. but we will be back in the first of the year and we will continue to address these issues that are so important when it comes to our public lands, our waters, our conservation priorities, as well as the priorities of our sportsmen and women. mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: does the senator modify her request? ms. murkowski: i believe there is an objection to the request. the presiding officer: is there an objection to the original request from the senator from alaska? mr. lee: yes, i object. the presiding officer: the senator from utah's objection is
heard. mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i find it unfortunate that the addition of two words is somehow unacceptable to the members of this body. two words, two without objection, so orders which, by the way, would put utah in the same category as alaska and wyoming. what do those states have in common? they've been repeatedly been victims of the antiquities act. you see, in every single state -- colorado and west of colorado, the federal government owns at least is 15% of the lan. in many of those states, it is much more than 15% of the land. in my state, it is two-thirds of the land, about 67%. what that means is that we have to get permission from the federal government to do just about everything. what that also means is that our schools are underfunded, everything from fire, search, rescue, education, local governance -- all of these budgets are underfunded as a result of the fact that most of the land is owned by the federal government. we can't tax that land. we receive pennies on the dollar
through a program called payment in lieu of taxes. pennies on the dollar, mr. president, because most of our land is not ours. most of our land cannot be developed privately. most of that land cannot be taxed by the states and localities, which makes it harder for us to educate our children. for us to secure our streets, for us to put out fires -- firings by the way -- fires, by the way, which become far more expensive because of federal landownership, which kills people and results in devastating losses, not only to property but also to the health of the environment. because bad federal land management policy is at the root of this. you know what's interesting? people like to talk a lot about these wildfires. a lot of them occur in the west. why? because there's a lot of federal public land in the west. yes, there are parts of the country where they have forests where these things don't happen. when they do, they're put out much faster, in things called
private forests. privately owned forests are much less prone to wildfires and when they do occur, they put them out more quickly. they're not hobbled under a mountain of regulation which prevent us from putting them out quickly. this is devastating to our states. it is a burden on our states. and in our state in particular. many of you come from lands if you live east of the rocky mountains, you come from lands where federal public lands are almost unheard of, where they're rare. where you have private land left and right. a lot of those same states used to be mostly federal, states like illinois used to be overwhelmingly federal. many, if not most, of the states added since the louisiana purchase have had language in their enabling legislation anticipating that in time federal public land within a state's boundaries would be sold
and that in the case of my state and many other states that a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of that land would be put into a trust fund for the benefit of the state's public education system. those promises were honored in the dakotas, in states like indiana and illinois. they were honored as we expanded west ward. for some reason when we got to the rocky mountains, they stopped honoring it. some of it has to do with what we were doing as a country at the time. some of it has to do that our land was regarded as suggested and somewhat undesirable at the time. but the understanding was still there just like it was in states like indiana and illinois. the effects are still there. we're still impoverished. our ability to expand economically is impaired and the health of our environment is significantly degraded as a result of this excessive,
unnecessary federal landownership. now, make make no mistakes. i'm not talking here about national parks. people like to caricature those who complain with excessive landownership i suggest the absence of a quorum as if we're going to put -- and suggest as if we're going to pull -- that's not what we're talking about at all. i'm talking about garden variety federal public land. land that's sitting faleomavaega for the most part -- that's sitting fallow for the most part. it's a result of poor federal land management policies. why? because these decisions are made by federal land managers who live and work and make decisions many hundreds and in many cases many thousands of miles from those most affected by those decisions. how then does this relate to the antiquities act? a state like mine that has a lot of federal public land, like alaska does and like wyoming does, is particularly uniquely vulnerable to predatory practices under the antiquities
act, allowing a president of the united states, under a law passed over a century ago, to utilize his discretion to set aside land as a national monument. it's already federal. this is putting it into a new classification, a classification subject to even more restrictions. eligible for even less development, less human activity, less access for recreational -- for agricultural or religious or cultural purposes. when you put it in that category, it makes it even more difficult for those people surrounding it, those people living in and around the federal public lands in question. so utah, like wyoming, and like alaska, has had a whole lot of presidents declaring a whole lot of federal public land national monument land. now, fortunately for the state of alaska and fortunately for the state of wyoming, they have had congressional delegations that in the past have said no
more, have demanded relief, and have said they have had enough. now in the case of a state like mine that's had a couple million acres roughly of federal public land declared monument by presidential proclamation, this is important. if it's good enough for alaska, if it's good enough for wyoming, why not extend the same courtesy to the state of utah? why in a bill that's 680 pages long, which i received at 10:00 a.m. today on what may well be the last or penultimate day of this legislative session of this congress, why are we receiving this just now? especially in a senate during a term of congress when it was originally believed that we might be adjourning by december 6 or 7 or 13 or 14? here it is on december 19.
my daughter's 18th birthday, by the way. happy birthday, eliza. december 19, we're just getting this bill for the first time today. what does that mean? if we had adjourned when we were originally thinking we might adjourn, would this never have happened? we have had it suggested to us by some members and some staff that had we been adjourning earlier, this would have just been released perhaps on the last day of the session. now, i -- i can't get into anyone else's head. i can't peer into anyone else's subjective intentions, but this makes me kind of nervous, the fact that, yes, i sit on this committee from whence this bill originated and yes i chair the public lands subcommittee, and yet there are a whole lot of these that the chairman and the ranking member know darn well that i oppose, that i voted against in committee. there are other provisions that
they know i have had long-standing concerns with. i wonder if maybe, just maybe that's part of the reason they wouldn't tell me what was in it. now, i understand it's difficult negotiating a big piece of legislation. i sympathize greatly with that. i'm not suggesting that short of receiving the entire 680-page document exactly as it has been submitted that i would irrevocably have bound myself to voting against it. i'm not suggesting that at all. it would have been nice to have a road map, to have some clue as to what might have been in there. and i know from conversations i have since had with members today that they have known for weeks if not months that they were putting permanent lwcf reauthorization in this bill. i don't believe it was a coincidence, mr. president, that i wasn't informed of this. i don't believe it was a coincidence, mr. president, that even after this bill was released at 10:00 a.m. today that the staff of the committee refused even to give me an
outline, an outline of what was in the bill even after they had filed it. we had to get this from a lobbyist. this is wrong. and it's wrong that the state of utah is treated the way that it is. it's wrong that you won't give us that language. it's wrong that you won't treat us the same way that alaska and wyoming are treated. this, mr. president, is wrong. we can do better. and i implore my colleagues to make this simple change. two words. two words, mr. president. add the words "or utah" to this bill and i will wholeheartedly support it. if not, i will continue to oppose it. thank you. mr. gardner: mr. president, as my colleague from utah knows, we offered the chance to vote on those two words tonight. the two words that you are asking for tonight we offered a chance to vote on. mr. lee: will you yield for a question? mr. gardner: let me talk about it because i am pretty darn upset. the people from colorado who are
worried about whether or not they can protect themselves from fire lost the wildfire technology act in this bill. that was in this bill. a bill that our committee has heard, that our committee voted on, that voted on bipartisan support probably unanimously. that was in this bill to protect our communities from wildfire and to protect our firefighters from injury in this bill. the other thing in this bill, a city in colorado who has a water system over a wilderness area that has for years been trying to fix it and they can't because it's in a wilderness area, so we have to have an act of congress to allow a city to fix their water system. rejected tonight because we weren't allowed a vote on it tonight. and you bet, you bet, you bet the permanent land water conservation fund is in here tonight, because guess what? it has the majority support of this body. if we had a vote on it tonight, it would have passed. republicans and democrats would have voted yes. it would have passed. not only that, we have boundary
adjustments in here because people died, they wanted to gift it to the national monument. that's not controversial. somebody wanted to do the right thing. and doggone it, we can't even vote on it here. i give compliments to the chairman of the energy committee who struck a deal, yes, it was yesterday. we got the bill as fast as we could. and so many of these doggone pieces of legislation we have already heard. we had committee hearings on. we voted out unanimously. bipartisan support. we offered deal after deal after deal to try to get a deal arranged and made. so that we could have a vote tonight. go tell the people of minturn, colorado, that they don't have a water system they can fix because congress has decided we're not going to allow that to come to a vote. sportsmen back home, tell them we're not going to have a sportsmen package abuse we decided not to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor for a vote. when we come back to this body
next year, we have an agreement. i believe that's correct. defer to the chairman of the energy committee, that this will be one of the first actions that this chairman addresses. and when that happens, there will be a chance to file cloture. there will be a chance for open debate, and we will have that vote. we'll have it next year. there will be different leadership in the senate so different negotiations will have to take place, but i have no doubt that we will get this done. it's frustrating to me that some of these bills have languished for year after year after year after year. that received unanimous support out of committee. i remember coming to this floor a year ago offering a unanimous consent agreement. it was objected to because somebody didn't get what they wanted, somebody didn't get what they wanted and somebody didn't get what they wanted, so everything was objected to. it created a whole domino
effect. said just wait for the lands package. so here we are waiting for the lands package. had a chance to do it. and we tried and tried and tried to make offer after offer to get something agreed to. i have great respect for my colleague from utah. we're a public lands state, too. and yes, our agencies need to make better decisions about how they conserve that planned. people in colorado -- that public land. people in colorado have great support for the land and water conservation fund. i would like to see it made permanent. my guess is next year it will be made permanent. why can't we do that tonight? why can't we have a vote? why can't we have people who don't like it vote no, people who do like it vote yes? there is plenty of opportunity to do that tonight. the people of colorado expect this place to get its work done. the bills we've had have been
through, negotiated house and senate. many out of committee with bipartisan support, not unanimous, and i guess the folks in minturn will just have to wait one more congress to get their water system fixed because this body couldn't agree to allow a vote. you wonder why people are sick of this place? because of tonight. mr. president, i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, all i'm asking is for the language that i have asked for, two words. the words "or utah" to be added to this legislation. i'm asking to be treated on an equal footing as the language proposed by the senator from colorado, the senator from alaska, the senator from washington, the senator from montana, and others. equal footing.
we have equal representation in the senate. it's the one type of constitutional amendment that is preemptively unconstitutional. you can't modify the equal representation of the senate. that's what makes this place unique. each state is represented equally. and i will defend my state, the state of utah, to my dying breath. as long as i'm here, breathing, and holding an election certificate, i will defend it. now, my distinguished friend and colleague, for whom i have great affection and respect, has just pointed out that the people of colorado might be disappointed about this water measure that was in there or this or that other provision of colorado. do they have reason to be concerned? you bet. do those people in colorado have objection to the idea that utah might be treated equally with alaska or wyoming? i think not. i think most people in america look at a state that's had a couple million acres of monument
declared that just wants to be treated the same way as alaska and wyoming. that's not unreasonable. this is a sovereign state, one that has been mistreated by federal land managers. we don't want to continue doing that. this is a generous offer. it's a reasonable offer. as to the suggestion that because it was offered that this receive a separate vote -- it's really not equivalent at all. what he is saying is split this out. everything else sinks or swims together. all of theirs passes and ours stands alone. if we're going to consolidate this many bills at once, he is right. some of them passed unanimously, a bunch of them didn't. i voted against a number of them. some are new. others are old but have been modified. one provision involving my own state involved 450 or 500,000 acres of wilderness and
has since it moved through the committee been modified to include an additional 200,000 acres of wilderness. that's from my state and i sit on the committee and i chair the subcommittee that is supposed to review these things. this is the first i have seen of him. so yes, i say to my distinguished friend and colleague for whom i also have great respect and admiration and affection, yes, there are a lot of parochial matters that are addressed in these public lands bills and appropriately so. what i'm asking is for my state to be treated like your state. that's all i'm asking. it's not unreasonable. it is not unfair. so if you're going to put 640 pages worth of legislation, including some legislation that has some significant ramifications for my state, i ask you to take those two words into the bill. that is not unreasonable. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i come first and foremost tonight to thank the staff who worked so
hard on this package. i mean not just in the last few weeks but for literally years work to try to get to an agreement on something we could vote on. ms. cantwell: it's not a surprise to the united states senate that it's december and people are voting on a lands package. my colleague from colorado outlined it very well, that when you have these bills that deal with water, that deal with public lands, that deal with giving federal land back to communities so they can improve their communities and, yes, designating some special places so they can preserve for the public, that, yes, not all your colleagues care about the details of that, and you are never going to get the leader who's in control of the united states senate to give you floor time on that bill. so every december, we're here with a lands package to be considered. and it's a package that has a lot of input from a lot of people, negotiated in this case
with the house and the senate, with democrats and republicans, a four-corner negotiation. so the missed opportunity tonight, as my colleague from colorado said, is that we don't get to vote on it. my colleague from utah is not being correct in that he was offered a chance to have that vote. he was offered a chance to have this bill brought up and to have his ideas voted on, and he knew he was going to lose. and he knows he's going to lose in january, but he wants to insist tonight on prevailing -- i'm not sure why, because as my colleague from colorado said, why continue to hold up these small communities from getting the resources they need? and trust me, communities like yakima, washington, want answers to the challenges of changing conditions that impact water and the fact that fish and farmers and tribes and environmentalists
all have to get together to solve those problems. so when they work for years on coming up with a solution, collectively at a local community, and then put that before the united states senate for hearing and for consideration, that proposal passed the united states senate and i think -- on a 85-12 vote two years ago. as did permanent reauthorization of the land and water conservation fund two years ago. passed the united states senate. so my colleague, who is somehow from utah imagining that somehow the land and water conservation fund being made permanent is not going to pass the united states senate, he's just dreaming of something that is really going to take place and become reality in the very near future. but what you've done is tonight made it a lot harder for us to make sure that we're moving
ahead. this legislation that he refused to allow us to vote on tonight also includes important, i would say one thing -- the one thing that maybe you could say hasn't had constant, constant attention over two years but certainly has grown in importance is new technology to help our firefighters fight fires, locate where the fires are happening, g.p.s. systems to help make people pour safe. that was in this package and probably has gotten enhanced a great deal over the last six months, as we've seen the tragic, devastating impacts of fires throughout the west. so, yes, that was in here and part of consideration. and, yes, there were legislative action, 90% of this package either saw legislation passed by the house of representatives or passed by the united states senate. legislation that basically passed out of a committee either the senate committee or house
committee. so it's not like these ideas came out of nowhere. they are, as my colleague from colorado said best, parochial issues that we find it very hard to get the rest of the our colleagues to ever want to pay attention to and ever want to pay attention to the details. so this has been the tried-and-true fashion by which the united states senate has passed land packages as long as i've been here for 18 years. that's what you do in december. you pass a lands package. i wish it was different. my colleague from colorado made a good suggestion about seven or eight months ago, why don't we do some right now? well, thanks to his initiative, we actually bundled together 15 or 20. but he was right. guess what? everybody came and said, oh, well where's mine? where's my package? where's this? i'm not going to let you do this. and we were in the same boy. so the best answer to all of that -- and we were in the same boat. so the best answer to all of that is that in december we'll
do a lands package. so the notion that people didn't know this was coming is a little bit facetious. everybody knows that these the time and these are the package and these are the proposals. to my colleague from utah, i get t he's not necessarily in agreement with some of his own delegation, who pushed things for utah that are in this package. i get it. he has a different philosophy about what should happen. and i guarantee you, utah is going to have a lot more debates about what it wants to see for its future. and i think that's ultimately healthy. i can just answer for my state, who has three national parks and generates millions of dollars from them. i can just answer from my state, who thinks that the outdoor economy is the number one reason we attract and keep high-skilled
and unbelievably manufacturing jobs in the pacific northwest. why? because businesses want to locate there because their workers want to have access to that. my constituent knows that the outdoor -- my state knows that the outdoor economy, because it has companies like r.e.i., is more than ads 800 billion annual economy. when you invest in public lands, you get more access to hunters and fishers and people who want to go and enjoy and recreate for our veterans. and so guess what? it's a great economic development tool. so the notion that a state who has public lands doesn't have economic opportunity is not telling the whole story. we all get it. we all represent counties that have nothing but an outdoor economy or public land, and then they want to know how to build a school or a fire station or keep the lights on for basic services. we get that complexity, too. but our colleagues did consider
these ideas. and our colleagues did consider the notion that there are diverse opinions. it's just that at the end of the day, you have to have a vote. you have to be able to come here to the united states senate on this subject -- that is, land packages -- and have a process. listen, if my colleagues who care so much about this want to create a new norm in the united states senate that the first week of december will be the deadline for all lands packages and then by the end of that session we will have lands packages always considered in the united states senate, i'm all for it. i'm all for that right now because i see devastation happening on water writ large. i see unbelievable problems happening throughout the west just on water. now, you can say we're going to do nothing and we're just going to let the courts and the
lawsuits and everything play out. but, guess what? that's where we were on fire -- until what happened? until the gentleman from montana and the gentleman from idaho and the gentleman from oregon and the gentlewomen from washington, we all got altogether ton a fire bill and we said, this is what we think would be great for the west to do to move forward. that's what we were trying to do tonight on water and on other fire measures and on public lands and helping veterans and native americans in alaska who never got a fair deal on access to their own land. so these solutions i get may take a few pages to print out and for people to read, but they are important public policies that need to have this body's attention, and you are doing nothing but shortchanging
the public debate if you won't even allow the bill to come to the floor for that debate. we are always, always going to get sidelined as individual bills as not being important enough to take up the time of the senate. it's only collectively in a bundle like we saw tonight that they can be considered. but i guarantee you, i guarantee you they are not going to grow into a package that becomes less important with time. they're just not. they're just not. they are going to continue to be amplified as important public policies where a local government, a county, or a city and the forest service and b.l.m. and a school district and a community are going to have to work together.
they're going to have to work together. they're going to have to work together on water, on fire, on public access, on conveyance, on how we're going to preserve open space, on how we're going to recreate. it is going to be demanded, and i know my colleague from tut doesn't agree with all of these philosophies, but i guarantee you, there are lots of people in utah that would have just loved to have a vote tonight to see how those issues would have played out. so i just -- i just want to thank staff. they have worked night and day literally, literally, literally for months, if not years, on these policies. they have worked so hard to try to find the common good in a place to move forward. and i so appreciate that our leaders are now committing to us to help move this forward in january. we're definitely going to take
them up on it, even though it will be a new congress and a new house of representatives. we are going to take it up. and i'm sure that our colleagues -- congressman grijalva and congressman bishop -- will be there to work with us. but there will never be an easy day to vote on public lands -- never. it's just never going to happen. so we better own up to the responsibility and get the commitment to these cities and communities that need us to help them hold federal agencies accountable, make the investments our constituents with a tonight see, and solve these problems so our communities can continue to grow and thrive. i believe these people are bubbling up some of the best ideas how to move forward. that's what they did in various parts of the west, whether that was in montana with what to do at yellowstone or whether that
was in alaska, what to do with this native issue, or yakima on what to do with water. they're bubbling up the ideas. at least what we can do is give them the courtesy of having the vote so that they can be considered. i thank the president and i yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i know that my colleague from montana wishes to speak, but before the senator from washington departs, i also want to the acknowledge the good work of both of of our staffs. and not just our staffs but working with our colleagues on the house side and with so many members. when you are going through the volume that we're talking about -- some 114 different bills on house side, on senate side -- it's extraordinarily tedious work and difficult work. and i think we owe them all a great deal of thanks. but i also want to rise and thank senator cantwell because in this next congress she will
be moving to another position as ranking member, and i won't be working side by side with her as we have. and i think it's important to note that on the difficult things that came before us, we -- we didn't always start off in agreement. but we slogged through it and our teams stuck with us and sloughed through it and we got to where we are tonight. and while it's not a good ending from my view in that we weren't able to provide these counties, these communities, these people that have worked so hard the satisfaction that they are seeking, the commitment to continue this until we are done is real, it is in place, it is intact, and it was agreed to tonight, and we're going to be moving forward in those first few weeks of january. i want to thank senator cantwell
for the working relationship that we have had over these past couple years, moving through important matters for your state, for my state, and really for the good of the country when it comes to energy. so i just appreciate your courtesies and opportunity to work together and that of of our staff. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i just want to thank the gentlewoman from alaska for her great work and working in such a collaborative way. certainly not leaving the energy committee and certainly not going to back away from any of these big issues, but certainly as she said won't be working as closely as the ranking member to her as the chair but certainly definitely going to work in a collaborative way. so i thank her for her kind comments and really look forward to what we can do in the new year. mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, i want to share some comments on
what we saw happen here tonight as it relates to this public lands package. we saw a glimpse here tonight of on one hand how this institution can really come together, years of bipartisan work, years of collaboration on the ground back in our respective states to come together, to put together a lands panel, and asking for a simple up-or-down vote tonight in the united states senate. and i'm very confident had we had the opportunity to have voted here tonight, you would have seen this lands package pass the united states senate by at least a 2-1 margin. it would have gone to the house. it would have passed. it would have gone to president trump's desk, and i'm confident he would have signed it. the reason we've been fighting for permanent reauthorization of the land and water conservation fund is because of what happened right here tonight.
it is the uncertainty of this institution, where 98 senators can say let's move ahead for a vote, two senators say no, and we weren't able to have a vote tonight. it's okay to oppose legislation. that's the american process. for each of us to come down here and express our respective opinions. some is will say yes, some will say no. what we're asking for here tonight is let's have that debate on the floor. let's have the vote on the floor. and let the senators respectively speak on behalf of the people that sent them here in the first place to represent their interests. but the land and water conservation fund, the reason we permanently authorize it is because tonight you can see we didn't get it done. in fact, it expired on septembe. and here we are halfway through december and we still do not have the reauthorization of lwcf. that is why we need to make it
permanent, because you can't depend on this institution. and so often the transactions required in our home states where we used lwcf funds to check the ownership structure of many places out west, it takes years to put together these deals. private landowners, the state, the federal government coming together. and when you have the federal government, the united states congress can't get its job done, it creates uncertainty, and consequently who loses? with the uncertainty, the american people lose. that is why we need to permanently reauthorize this. it actually creates more certainty in taking care of a lot of these complex land issues out west. and it saves the taxpayer dollars. by the way, senator burr has said over and over again, lwtf doesn't cost the taxpayer anything. it doesn't cost the taxpayer
anything. that was in this bill tonight, to permanently reauthorize it. it didn't get done. as you read through the titles of these various bills, you hear the stories. it looks like one little line item here, section 1009, senate bill 1219. there is some little obscure title that a guy from montana has no idea what's going on in louisiana or tennessee or alaska, but i know back in those respective communities or colorado, there is a lot of hard work bringing people together and collaborative to come together, put together a bill that will then bring it through congress. we move it through committee. we have hours of hearings. literally, there is probably 100 years of effort at least that's gone into this legislation tonight that we were not able to have an up-or-down vote on.
wildfire technology modernization. the yellowstone gateway protection act. that's important to me in montana. the people who are closest to the lands ought to have the loudest voice. and i can tell you the people in paradise nont, they don't want to see a large mining operation near chico, montana. it's time to withdraw the rights there and allow that back door to yellowstone national park to be protected in perpetuity. that was part of this land package tonight. you take a look at the sportsman's access to federal lands. one of the issues that sets our nation apart is our public lands. if you go to europe, you don't see public lands. you go to virtually anywhere else in the world, you don't see public lands. it is a unique american experience. that a mom and dad in montana, a grandma and grandpa, aunt and
uncle can still go down to walmart and buy an elk tag and jump in the pickup and within 20 to 30 minutes be in elk country on public lands. that was part of the sportsman's access package. we had the open book on equal access of justice act. in fact, it's something that senator barrasso put in place here, to ensure we have transparency in the way these funds are spent. there is the migratory bird framework and hunting opportunities for veterans act in here. my point is there are over 100 bills in here with a lot of careful thought, a lot of consideration moving through committees. all we wanted to do tonight is have an up-or-down vote. we didn't get it. i'm grateful that we had a good bipartisan spirit here tonight, that we're working with leadership in both parties here in the senate, both parties in the house including future leadership in the house. we're going to bring this bill back to the floor of the u.s. senate in january. we're going to move this
through. we're going to move it to the house. we're going to fight to get this thing on the president's desk and signed as one of the early acts of congress in 2019. so it didn't end well here tonight with this package. we're going to start strong in january. we're not giving up the fight. i want to thank the staff and the committee leadership on both sides for helping us get to this point tonight. merry christmas, happy new year. we will be back in january fighting.
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