Many were surprised earlier this week when the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Sportsmen's Act of 2012. In hindsight, no one should've been. After all, do any of us really have reason – any reason at all – to expect competence out of our elected federal representatives?
The Sportsmen's Act, which contains a lot of good stuff for those of us who love to fish and hunt, got shot down Monday due to a procedural matter. It would've raised the price of a federal duck stamp from $15 to $25 – an increase that is not opposed by the vast majority of the nation's waterfowl hunters. However, it was deemed to violate the Budget Control Act of 2011, since duck-stamp proceeds are used to buy wetlands, and such purchases would be classified as new spending.
Okay, rules are rules, and they should be followed. But it seems inconceivable that this matter wasn't straightened out prior to the Act coming to the Senate floor for a vote. Now there's a mad scramble going on in Washington D.C. to get the whole thing fixed so it can be brought up for another vote before this lame-duck Congress calls it quits. Time is extremely short.
This deal is important, folks. It's been hailed as the most significant piece of legislation benefiting anglers and hunters in a generation. It would protect habitat, provide better access and get the lead-ban crowd off the backs of the companies that produce sinkers and ammunition.
It needs to be passed now and there's time to get it done – but not much. Our senators need to know that this is a high priority for those of us who take to the water with a rod and reel or go afield with a dog and gun. There are more than enough of us to get that message across, but we must be heard.
Why not take a few minutes today to call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge your respective senators to get this matter wrapped up before they go home for the holidays This is a rare opportunity to take back some of the ground that sportsmen have lost in recent years, and we just can't afford to let it slip away.
––BassFan Senior Editor