Deep in the fine print of the Defense bill

Deep in the fine print of the Defense bill 

Posted: 8:39 pm Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

By Jamie Dupree

At 1,648 pages, the National Defense Authorization bill up for a vote on Thursday in the House probably won’t be read by too many lawmakers or reporters – but a quick peek shows it’s about more than just the Pentagon.

Yes, there are major policy items in this bill, like a provision that bars another round of military base closures, as it authorizes $521.3 billion for military agencies, plus another $63.7 billion for overseas U.S. military operations.

But when you actually read through the bill – or the 513 page explanatory statement – you finally stumble on a number of items that don’t relate to the military at all.

For some lawmakers, it was a legislative product that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.

As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) called out negotiators for adding in dozens of items on national parks, designations and monuments from all around the nation.

Here’s the full list of lands measures:

Sec. 3001. Land conveyance, Wainwright, Alaska.
Sec. 3002. Sealaska land entitlement finalization.
Sec. 3003. Southeast Arizona land exchange and conservation.
Sec. 3004. Land exchange, Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, and Bureau of Land Management land in Riverside County, California.
Sec. 3005. Special rules for Inyo National Forest, California, land exchange.
Sec. 3006. Land exchange, Trinity Public Utilities District, Trinity County, California, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service.
Sec. 3007. Idaho County, Idaho, shooting range land conveyance.
Sec. 3008. School District 318, Minnesota, land exchange.
Sec. 3009. Northern Nevada land conveyances.
Sec. 3010. San Juan County, New Mexico, Federal land conveyance.
Sec. 3011. Land conveyance, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
Sec. 3012. Conveyance of certain land to the city of Fruit Heights, Utah.
Sec. 3013. Land conveyance, Hanford Site, Washington.
Sec. 3014. Ranch A Wyoming consolidation and management improvement.
Sec. 3021. Bureau of Land Management permit processing.
Sec. 3022. Internet-based onshore oil and gas lease sales.
Sec. 3023. Grazing permits and leases.
Sec. 3024. Cabin user and transfer fees.
Sec. 3030. Addition of Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light to the Apostle Islands National Seashore.
Sec. 3031. Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.
Sec. 3032. Coltsville National Historical Park.
Sec. 3033. First State National Historical Park.
Sec. 3034. Gettysburg National Military Park.
Sec. 3035. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, Maryland.
Sec. 3036. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Auburn, New York.
Sec. 3037. Hinchliffe Stadium addition to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
Sec. 3038. Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site.
Sec. 3039. Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Sec. 3040. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness.
Sec. 3041. Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.
Sec. 3042. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Sec. 3043. Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico.
Sec. 3044. Vicksburg National Military Park.
Sec. 3050. Revolutionary War and War of 1812 American battlefield protection program.
Sec. 3051. Special resource studies.
Sec. 3052. National heritage areas and corridors.
Sec. 3053. National historic site support facility improvements.
Sec. 3054. National Park System donor acknowledgment.
Sec. 3055. Coin to commemorate 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
Sec. 3056. Commission to study the potential creation of a National Women’s History Museum.
Sec. 3057. Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
Sec. 3060. Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers protection.
Sec. 3061. Columbine-Hondo Wilderness.
Sec. 3062. Hermosa Creek watershed protection.
Sec. 3063. North Fork Federal lands withdrawal area.
Sec. 3064. Pine Forest Range Wilderness.
Sec. 3065. Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area and wilderness additions.
Sec. 3066. Wovoka Wilderness.
Sec. 3067. Withdrawal area related to Wovoka Wilderness.
Sec. 3068. Withdrawal and reservation of additional public land for Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California.
Sec. 3071. Illabot Creek, Washington, wild and scenic river.
Sec. 3072. Missisquoi and Trout wild and scenic rivers, Vermont.
Sec. 3073. White Clay Creek wild and scenic river expansion.
Sec. 3074. Studies of wild and scenic rivers.
Sec. 3077. Land taken into trust for benefit of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Sec. 3078. Transfer of administrative jurisdiction, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Sec. 3081. Ensuring public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument.
Sec. 3082. Anchorage, Alaska, conveyance of reversionary interests.
Sec. 3083. Release of property interests in Bureau of Land Management land conveyed to the State of Oregon for establishment of Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Sec. 3087. Bureau of Reclamation hydropower development.
Sec. 3088. Toledo Bend Hydroelectric Project.
Sec. 3089. East Bench Irrigation District contract extension.
Sec. 3091. Commemoration of centennial of World War I.
Sec. 3092. Miscellaneous issues related to Las Vegas valley public land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.
Sec. 3093. National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial.
Sec. 3094. Extension of legislative authority for establishment of commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams.
Sec. 3095. Refinancing of Pacific Coast groundfish fishing capacity reduction loan.

Coburn argues that the Park Service is already struggling with its lands inventory.

Not everyone was irked, as local lawmakers who had a project included were more than happy to trumpet their legislative victory.

Senate action on the bill is expected next week, as the Congress tries to wrap up its work for 2014 – though Sen. Coburn, who is retiring at the end of the year, might have one final legislative flourish to offer against this legislation.

Also in the bill is a major reform in the way the federal government does business on IT – information technology; but, the interesting part is that it applies to everything in the federal government except the military.

4 comments
greggl4798
greggl4798

Tom Coburn, one of the few remaining voices of sanity in the US Congress, will be retiring at the end of the year.  Who will then stand up for the poor American taxpayer who is getting fleeced at every turn?

Ultraman8
Ultraman8

Two Harriett Tubman museums and a study on a womens museum? How about a study on reduction of congressional and Senatorial pay?

Pacifino
Pacifino

Studies of wild and scenic rivers?  Cabin User and permit fees? Hydroelectric projects?   Some  pork put into bills just  boil down to legal stealing.   Would probably make you sick to know how much money some of these projects will put into the pockets of the politicians and their friends and family. 

dubious123
dubious123

This digs at the core of our political process. Trying to do too much at once. What's wrong with a 100 bills for individual items? Nothing. Instead we try to do omni-bus bills that cover so many issues that are totally unrelated to each other that we can't help but find disagreement... and then there's spin against one party or another.


A third party is not the answer... it's enough to wonder maybe we do need a dictator- if only to remove all hypocrites from the political pool. Then a revolution or rejection might have meaning for one party or the other who comes to power after.

I have consistently voted Republican; but I'm more a blue dog Democrat... there are just some issues I could never agree with that party of horse/mule mix... 

The US political situation is hopeless.. it's need to total wipe... no matter who I vote for... I lose. Gutless, spineless republicans or care-bear democrats... lose, lose, lose... they all need to go. It's not enough to remove them from office... they need to feel fear just to show up at the podium. It's far too easy to walk away carefree.