Today on the Hill: Senate Begins Consideration of Sweeping Federal Lands Package

Senators are set to begin consideration of a bipartisan federal lands package championed by conservation advocacy groups. The Natural Resources Management Act (S.47) would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — a program that uses federal oil and gas royalties from offshore drilling to fund acquisitions and easements of land and water — and also includes a host of provisions that would increase recreational access to federal lands and add to national parks and other land holdings. The Senate attempted to pass the lands package late last year in hopes of addressing the LWCF’s funding lapse, but was blocked by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY).

In the House, lawmakers have queued up five suspension bills out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. For the balance of the week, the lower chamber is set to consider a bill (H.R. 840) that would make permanent the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Child Care Pilot Program.