Bipartisan Leadership Pushes to Restore Sequestered Sportsmen Trust
| Nov 05, 2013
(Washington, DC) – In an effort to exempt vital sportsmen trust funds from budget sequestration, the bipartisan Senate leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) sent a letter to Sylvia Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting that the $50 million sequestered from the Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds in 2013 be returned to the states.
In bipartisan fashion, CSC Senate Co-Chairs, Kay Hagan and John Thune, and Senate Vice-Chairs, Mark Pryor and James Risch, signed on to the letter, requesting the OMB release the sequestered sportsmen trust funds that are derived from excise taxes levied on guns and ammunition; fishing tackle and equipment; motorboat fuel; and bows and arrows. The trust funds are the foundation of the unique American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays-public benefits” program. This user-pays funding strategy has produced numerous public benefits including: abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges, and boating access facilities.
Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) praised the Senate CSC leadership for their continued bipartisan support. “We salute the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for once again standing up in support of hunters and anglers. These dedicated trust funds form the financial backbone of the most successful conservation story in history, and to release them back to the state wildlife agencies where they belong is simply the right thing to do.”
“North Carolina and states across the country depend on this funding to restore and manage fisheries and wildlife habitats, open and maintain recreational access, and provide hunting and boating safety education. Moreover, applying sequestration to the trust funds represents a breach in trust between sportsmen and women and industries that pay an excise tax to specifically fund projects that enhance outdoor recreation activities and opportunities,” Senator Hagan stated.
By withholding $50 million from Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration, and Boating Safety programs, the Budget Control Act of 2011 will adversely affect states’ ability to manage their fish and wildlife resources; open and maintain recreational access; and deliver hunter and boating safety education.
In the letter, CSC leadership noted that in implementing sequestration, OMB is required to follow rules outlined in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. The act provides that budgetary resources sequestered in trust fund accounts in a fiscal year “shall be available in subsequent years to the extent otherwise provided in law.”
In March, CSF, along with 44 organizations representing millions of hunters, anglers and other conservationists, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting assistance in exempting the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds from the Budget Sequestration Act of 2011.—courtesy CSC