By a vote of 73 to 25, the U.S. Senate today passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a landmark legislative package to fund access to and maintenance of the nation’s public lands. This final vote followed a week of procedural motions that continually garnered bipartisan support, culminating in today’s overwhelming approval.
“In these incredibly challenging times, it’s heartening to see the U.S. Senate come together and overwhelmingly support something so integral to our economy and way of life – our public lands,” said Mike Leonard, vice president, Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The sportfishing industry is grateful to Senate leadership and the many Great American Outdoors Act Senate champions for prioritizing this truly historic bill and working tirelessly to ensure its passage.”
Led by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the Great American Outdoors Act would permanently fund the highly successful Land and Water Conservation Fund, which for the past five decades, has helped provide access to recreational areas, trails and waterways throughout the nation. It also would establish a new program to improve the deteriorating infrastructure of our national parks and forests.
“Anglers across the country played a significant role in making sure the recreational fishing community’s voice was heard in support of this bill,” said Leonard. “Through Keep America Fishing, thousands of emails were sent to the Senate, reaching 96 Senators total, urging them to vote yes on this bill. Our community’s voice will continue to be needed as this bill now moves to the House of Representatives.”
A companion bill, H.R. 7092, was introduced on June 4, 2020, in the U.S. House of Representatives by approximately a dozen House members led by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.). It has accumulated more than 60 cosponsors since introduction.
“Public lands support recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Leonard. “Anglers will benefit from the Great American Outdoors Act’s enactment for generations to come.”