July 11, 2013 (Washington, DC) - After coming up short during the 112th Congress to finalize a comprehensive sportsmen's package, leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) addressed a packed room on Capitol Hill yesterday regarding a number of sportsmen's legislative priorities for the 113th Congress. Putting politics aside, bipartisan members of the CSC committed to working together to successfully move a list of sportsmen's priorities in this Congress.
Eleven members of Congress, Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Dan Ashe, congressional staff and members of the hunting and fishing community participated in a dialogue with CSC leadership in an effort to continue advancing sportsmen's legislative priorities. The House CSC leadership gave a synopsis of their priorities for the 113th Congress and emphasized how Congress should work in a bipartisan fashion to protect and advance sportsmen's interests.
"As the largest Caucus on Capitol Hill, members of the CSC work in a bicameral and bipartisan fashion to make sure our sportsmen's traditions are protected. The priorities outlined this morning are vital pieces of legislation important to the sportsmen's community and I urge those of you who are not cosponsors of these respective bills to get involved as we work to advance these priorities in the 113th Congress," Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) stated.
Some of these priorities include legislation that will protect traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle, encourage the use of more Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges, allow the importation of polar bear carcasses legally harvested in Canada before 2008, and promote hunting, recreational fishing and shooting on our federal public lands.
CSC Co-Chair, Representative Bennie Thompson spoke in support of H.R. 322, which protects the use of traditional ammunition with lead components and lead fishing tackle, and H.R. 2046, which would prohibit the Secretary of the Army from not allowing an individual to legally possess a firearm at a water resources development project on lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
CSC Co-Chair, Representative Bob Latta spoke on the need to permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Federal Advisory Committee and the need to assess a lower permit fee for film crews of five persons or fewer utilizing federal public lands for their projects. "We want to make sure these priorities are addressed along with the priorities mentioned by my colleagues this morning. These bills are bipartisan and are common sense measures that advance sportsmen's traditions. We have a number of bills that need to get done and through the efforts of the bipartisan CSC, we should be able to advance these priorities this year."
CSC Vice-Chairs, Representatives Rob Wittman and Tim Walz addressed the crowd regarding the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act (H.R. 1206) and the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act (H.R. 1818), and the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R. 2463), respectively.
CSC member Representative Dan Benishek spoke on H.R. 1825, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, a bill he introduced. "All of us who hunt and fish understand the necessity of passing this bill. I hope you join the seventy-four other cosponsors in helping to move this legislation through the floor this summer and onto the Senate."
Senator CSC Co-Chair, Kay Hagan urged attendees to roll up their sleeves and advance the aforementioned sportsmen's priorities in the 113th Congress. "A bipartisan sportsmen's package is something that needs to get done and I think can get done. This is important to our hunters, our anglers and the outdoor recreation enthusiasts. I can think of no other list of priorities this conducive to bipartisan support. Developing this package has been slower than we have liked but I think that is going to change over the next couple of months."
CSF Board Member Melissa Simpson of Safari Club International (SCI) highlighted specific priorities and the importance of a collective effort from the sportsmen's conservation community to address the CSC's sportsmen's priorities this year."Safari Club International would like to thank all the members of the CSC for their support of H.R. 1825, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which will protect our hunting freedoms on America's public lands," said SCI Director of Government Affairs, Melissa Simpson. "We hope to see quick action by the GOP House Leadership to advance H.R. 1825 as well as other legislation critical to sportsmen and women over the coming months including: H.R. 1818, H.R. 322, and H.R. 2463." Susan Reece, Director of Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources for the National Rifle Association (NRA) also spoke to the importance of H.R. 1825.
The sponsor of the breakfast briefing was Safari Club International. The sponsors of the auction were Buck Bomb, FNH USA, Remington, Safari Club, Sun Optics, and Walkers Alpha Muffs.
Since 1989 the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen's organization in the political arena. CSF's mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, recreational fishing and shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the CSC, the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, recreational fishing and shooting, and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the agenda of America's hunters and anglers.