House Republicans Advance Bill Cutting National Park Service Funding
House Republicans made a significant move on Thursday evening by advancing a bill that would slash the National Park Service (NPS) budget by 13%. This decision comes as part of a larger effort to reduce federal spending, with cuts totaling over $21 billion below President Joe Biden’s budget request.
“I’ll be real honest with you. If you’re looking for a pretty bill, this is not it,” emphasized subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) during the markup. “This is a hard bill, but frankly, it’s a necessary bill. Cutting funding is never easy and can often be an ugly process, but with the nation’s debt in excess of $32 trillion and inflation at an unacceptable level, we have to do our jobs to rein in unnecessary federal spending.”
The bill includes major funding reductions for nearly every agency within the Department of the Interior, drawing criticism from Subcommittee Democrats. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), the subcommittee ranking member, expressed concern over the proposed cuts, stating, “The cuts in this bill are so severe that even agencies that usually enjoy bipartisan support are targeted for damaging reductions. This cut means park rangers will lose their jobs. Further, it severely hampers the service’s ability to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources in our national parks and jeopardizes the visitor experience.”
The NPS funding will see a significant drop of $436 million, resulting in a total budget of $2.6 billion. This reduction is expected to lead to the loss of more than 1,000 park employees and have a negative impact on park operations, according to national parks advocates.
“The House Interior Appropriations budget is reckless and should be a nonstarter for anyone who cares about our national parks and public lands,” expressed National Parks Conservation Association President and CEO Theresa Pierno in a press release. “Despite their overwhelming popularity, our national parks have been underfunded and understaffed for decades.”
The bill also includes provisions such as requiring the reissuance of the 2020 delisting of the gray wolf as an endangered species and blocking the introduction of the grizzly bear into the North Cascades for species recovery efforts. Additionally, the proposed bill prohibits diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives from the Biden administration within the Department of the Interior and blocks funding for the promotion or advancement of critical race theory.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the NPS for comment, but they did not respond.
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