GOP blocks bill to give more access to land for hunters
WASHINGTON (AP) — A wide-ranging bill to give hunters and fishermen more access to public lands stalled in the Senate Monday after Republicans said it spends too much money.
Republicans supported opening lands for outdoorsmen and many other provisions in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but GOP senators blocked the legislation on principle Monday evening in a mostly party-line procedural vote after Senate Budget Committee's top Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, objected to spending on conservation programs included in the bill.
The sportsmen's bill would increase land access and allow hunters to bring home as trophies 41 polar bears killed in Canada before the government started protecting polar bears as a threatened species. The legislation would also exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, allow bow hunters to cross federal land where hunting isn't allowed, encourage federal land agencies to help states maintain shooting ranges, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat.
Sessions said he supported the overall bill but objected to spending on conservation programs that he said violated budget rules. Democrats argued that the bill also raised money for those provisions.