President Donald Trump held a private signing ceremony in the White House for a major public lands bill the day after his budget proposal removed nearly all the money from its most popular provision, the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Congress overwhelmingly passed S. 47, now named the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, by votes of 92-8 in the Senate and 363-62 in the House. The Michigan Democrat was the longest serving representative in Congress and left his name on the Dingell-John Act which funds sport-fishing activity through a tax on fishing and boating equipment.
Congress permanently reauthorized LWCF after letting the 54-year-old program expire in 2015, and appropriated $435 million for fiscal 2019. Trump’s 2020 budget proposal not only recommends no new money for LWCF, it pulls back about $23 million of what was appropriated this year.
Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, both Republicans who voted for the Dingell Act, attended Tuesday’s White House ceremony. In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Daines repeatedly declined to comment on what Trump said about the bill or its lack of funding for LWCF.