Padding the National Defense Authorization Bill

Yesterday reported that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes some provisions that have nothing to do with defense.

The article reports:

According to Cruz (Senator Ted Cruz), the “extraneous” land grab provisions in the NDAA include:   

250,000 acres of new wilderness designations 400,000 acres withdrawn from productive use (for energy, mining, timber, etc.) 

Fifteen new national park units or park expansions 

Eight new studies for national parks 

Three new wild and scenic river designations

3 new studies for additional designations 

Study to begin the National Women’s History Museum 

The federal government already owns an estimated 640 million acres of land, more than one-third of the entire country.  

Breitbart News reported that the text of the NDAA compromise reached by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers included a slew of unrelated public lands measures. The NDAA is considered must-pass legislation.   

Again, we are left wondering who Congress actually represents–I don’t think it is the American people.

The article further reports:

The NDAA agreement includes close to 100 natural resources provisions from across the nation, including eight Nevada public land provisions that have been priorities for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Republican counterpart Dean Heller.  

In a statement celebrating the attachment of the public lands provisions to the NDAA, Sen. Heller, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, acknowledges that he “worked behind the scenes for months to attach these Nevada priorities, spurring economic development and enhancing national security, to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”  

“This is great news for the entire state of Nevada. I’ve worked tirelessly from my first days in the House of Representatives to take the lead and ensure these lands bills were top priorities. I’ve been committed from the very beginning and am glad to see the fruits of this labor,” he states. “I’m grateful my colleagues from the delegation, specifically Senator Reid and Congressman [Mark] Amodei [R-Nev.], collaborated in making these bills important action items this Congress.”  

“It was not an easy lift but the needs of Nevada were addressed, and I’m happy to achieve this goal,” he adds. “As this legislation becomes law, it will not only spur economic development in our state but enhance national security as well. Those are things we should all be proud to accomplish.”  

This NDAA is a bad bill–it cuts military benefits of active duty military and it includes a land grab that needs to be discussed on its own–not added to something unrelated. I understand that it would be inconvenient for the bill not to pass, but I hope there are enough people in the Senate who are paying attention and will say ‘no.’