These days it seems that everyone seems to be focusing on how we can move to the furthest partisan extremes. Yet, hidden away in the House there is a little bill (only 559 words, yes words, not pages!) known as H.R. 3195.
Not surprisingly, it isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves and when it likely passes with bipartisan support, that fact is likely to be ignored for not fitting the current media narrative: that everything congressional needs to be contentious, convoluted and concerning matters unrelated to average Americans. However, this bill is precisely the type of legislation that Congress should be passing.
Imagine using the funds collected from acts passed related to revenues from natural energy to be used for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Imagine Congress being responsible and accountable in their spending to ensure that federally protected lands receive funds for upkeep and maintenance, for continued use by generations to come. Imagine the notion of not just creating something and then forgetting it; but nurturing, protecting and treasuring it.
Yes, it seems almost like a foreign concept compared to the current funding process due to the simplicity of the bill, but that is exactly why the bill should be resoundingly supported. It is not business as usual. Rather, it is a unique opportunity to do something decidedly unusual by Congress: to spend money without raising taxes.
Not only does this bill offer an effective funding model for responsible spending, but also the funds being spent are actually going to accomplish admirable achievements: supporting environmental improvement and conservation.
Teddy Roosevelt understood the importance of this goal and his words should be remembered and heeded when he stated, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.”
This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to come together and do the right thing. This bill nearly shouts for unity, in a time and on a topic, so often prone to division.
Yet, who knows? Perhaps unity can be restored one short, sweet, and simple bill at a time.
Maybe, all it takes is remembering that we are one nation and one land. One land that still needs to be preserved, and one small step in that preservation is with this bill for a Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Possibly, rather than focusing on divisions, we can recall a time when Republicans and Democrats could still find ways to come together to accomplish good things. Maybe this is the time when we remember how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill managed to find at least some common ground for the common good, and we can do the same again for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in H.R. 3195.