- Our federal partners are returning to work.
- These negotiations featured no serious discussion of further cuts to discretionary spending, and in fact, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan expressed a willingness to explore relief from discretionary spending cuts in upcoming negotiations.
- The shutdown reaffirmed the high value Americans place on conserved lands. Closures of National Parks and refuge hunting areas (and resulting economic losses) were among the most visible and widely derided impacts of the shutdown.
The Bad News:
- The fundamental issues that lead to this crisis remain unresolved, with most government funding expiring again on January 15.
- The grant programs land trusts rely on will probably remain on hold until full-year funding bills are adopted, likely in January.
Now the hard work begins. Yesterday's bill sets a December 13 deadline for House and Senate Budget conferees to reach agreement on a budget resolution. Expedited budget processes could theoretically break the log jam on politically challenging alternatives like entitlement cuts, tax reform, and the farm bill, relieving pressure on discretionary spending, but such processes can prove perilous for discretionary spending as well.
To represent land trust interests in this challenging environment, today the Land Trust Alliance sent a letter urging Congressional leaders to avoid further cuts to land conservation programs that have already been slashed 25% in recent years. When meeting with legislators over the coming months, we encourage you to share this letter, emphasizing the specific programs that matter most to you. To further emphasize this message, the Alliance has also signed recent group letters circulated by the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition and the AVCRP Coalition.
A few more things…
Yesterday, the Alliance sent a letter endorsing the President's nomination of Bureau of Land Management Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze to become the agency's Director. We have appreciated Mr. Kornze's leadership on the National Landscape Conservation System and look forward to his speedy confirmation.
And one final reminder: October 31 is the deadline for the Alliance's 2014 Policy Priorities Survey. We would love to hear what federal programs and incentives matter most to you (and what details need changing) so please fill out the survey today.
Thank you for being part of our Federal Funding Advocates team.