Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 Vote Stalled in the Senate

On November 26, 2012, the Senate voted against waiving the Budget Control Act, preventing a vote on Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Senator Jon Tester’s bill, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. This vote came as a surprise to sportsmen's groups from across the country that have been working hard for its passage.

At issue is language giving the Interior Department authority to increase the price of the federal duck stamp, which raise money to conserve wetlands habitat and are required to hunt migratory waterfowl. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that this provision that boosts the cost from $15 to $25 a stamp, would raise an additional $132 million. But because it would raise both revenue and spending limits under the jurisdiction of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it ran afoul of the Budget Control Act. Notably, duck hunters support the price increase, and the bill would still reduce the deficit by $5 million over the next decade, according to CBO.

Both Senators have been working together to develop a solution so that the Senate can proceed with a vote on the largest sportsmen’s package in a generation before the end of the 112th Congress. It appears that a solution is close at hand, since Senator Tester proposed adding a crop insurance provision to the sportsmen's bill to bring it into compliance with budget law.

While it appears the budget concerns are being resolved, the bill is now being held up by Senator Barbara Boxer over the provision to exempt lead ammunition and fishing tackle from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA has denied several petitions by environmental groups to regulate lead ammunition and fishing tackle under TSCA.

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