Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reid abandons plans to pass omnibus lands bill this year

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has abandoned plans to pass omnibus lands legislation consisting of more than 110 land and water bills. But Reid is working to pass certain pieces of the bill before the end of the session. Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle blamed the decision on Republicans, who opposed parts of the legislation, the America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010. She said Reid was working with lawmakers to pass parts of the legislation this year. “Critical bipartisan bills for all regions of the country are included in the America's Great Outdoors Act of 2010. Unfortunately, certain senators have made it clear that they prefer delay over bipartisan action on non-controversial bills. Sen. Reid is working with the chairmen of the relevant committees to see if smaller sections of the bill might be able to pass on their own,” Lachapelle said in a statement. Reid called for passage of the omnibus lands bill Friday evening, even though he had raised doubts that it could gain the necessary votes the day before. The legislation consists of various land and water bills that have been considered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee. By packaging the bills together, Reid had hoped to overcome a Republican filibuster. While most of the provisions in the legislation aren’t controversial, Republicans oppose a handful of the bills included in the package. But Republicans have signaled that they will support narrow lands legislation that focuses on the non-controversial provisions. Matt Dempsey, spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), ranking Republican on the environment panel, told The Hill late last week, “There were a number of bills that we could support, but unfortunately they packaged it with a bunch of bills that we can’t support.”
The Hill

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