The bad guys won a round in the United States Senate late Thursday night, as Senate Bill 990 - S. 990 - the "Son of CARA" - was approved. S. 990 is a $600 million per year land grab, much smaller than the Big Daddy "CARA" Land Grab legislation also being considered by Congress.
QUESTION: What happened? What was the vote? Who voted with us and against? Who spoke out during debate?
ANSWER: There was no vote. There were no amendments. There was no debate.
It happened in the dark of night, on the final day of the 2001 session of Congress, when other business was finished and many Senators had already left the Capitol.
Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, working with Senator Bob Smith, Republican of New Hampshire, brought S. 990 to the floor of a nearly empty Senate chamber. Reid asked for "Unanimous Consent" that the bill be approved on the spot, with no debate, no amendments and no recorded vote.
ALL Senators had been notified just a few days before that Reid would make a Unanimous Consent request - and NONE, not even one Senator, stuck around to defend private property rights!
If even ONE, just ONE Senator had objected, then consideration of S 990 would have been put off for several weeks. Amendments and debate would have been allowed, and a recorded vote taken.
How did this happen? Two reasons:
First, in the end-of-session confusion, very few people were paying attention. It was the end of one of the longest sessions of Congress in decades, a few days before Christmas, and there were still several multi-billion dollar appropriations bills to be approved. Congress was in a crisis, which made for a perfect opportunity to slip through Son of CARA.
Second, incumbent politicians don't want to rock the boat. No Senator, not even one, was willing to hold up S. 990 for fear of offending the four Senators who sponsored the bill - because they may need those Senators to help them on something else.
Who did this?
The final language (see portions below) of S. 990 as it was considered by the Senate was sponsored by four Senators. They are Republican Bob Smith of New Hampshire, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont, and INCREDIBLY, Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho!!!!!
Crapo's office was called and asked, "Since Idaho is more than 60% owned by the federal government already, how could the Senator cosponsor S. 990, a multibillion dollar land grab?" The caller was told, "Someone will get back to you on that." There was no return phone call.
ACTION ITEM - IDAHO:
ESPECIALLY if you are from Idaho, contact or go see Senator Mike Crapo - he will be in Idaho for the next three weeks, ask for his schedule - and ask him the question he has refused to answer: "WHY did you cosponsor S. 990, the Son of CARA???" (see below for bill specifics)
Boise Office of Senator Crapo 304 North Eighth Street, Room 338, Boise ID 83702 208-334-1776, fax 208-334-9044
Coeur d'Alene Office 1000 Northwest Blvd. #100, Coeur d'Alene ID 83814 208-664-5490, fax 208-664-0889
Idaho Falls Office 490 Memorial Drive #102, Idaho Falls ID 83402 208-522-9779, fax 208-529-8367
The other three Senators, Bob Smith (New Hampshire), Reid (Nevada) and Jeffords (Vermont), have a long record of land grabbing. They should also be contacted - in particular by residents of their home states.
ACTION ITEM - NEW HAMPSHIRE:
You have a choice in New Hampshire. Senator Bob Smith faces a difficult Republican primary election in 2002. He is being challenged by Republican Congressman John Sununu. Sununu supports property rights, and voted NO on the CARA Land Grab in the House last year!
We're not telling anyone who to vote for, just pointing out that there is a clear choice in New Hampshire: Bob Smith - land grabber, or John Sununu - for property rights. Here are both campaign's offices - you may want to contribute to the candidate of your choice, and tell the other candidate to re-read the United States Constitution:
Sununu for Senate P. O. Box 500, Rye, NH 03870 603-964-7077, fax 603-964-7205 http://www.teamsununu.org
Bob Smith for U.S. Senate 116 South River Rd., Unit D, Bedford, NH 03110 Phone: 603-647-0202, Fax: 603-665-9099 http://www.Senatorsmith.com
How bad is "Son of CARA"??? Let's count the ways:
FIRST: Up to $600 million per year for five years, that's up to $3 BILLION dollars total can be allocated, for two purposes: land acquisition with no protection against condemnation, and grant money to leftwing environmental and animal rights organizations.
SECOND: The government can grab your land for nearly any reason, including, to quote directly from S. 990, "acquisition of an area of land or water that is suitable or capable of being made suitable for feeding, resting, or breeding by wildlife."
And it gets even better - again, to quote direct from S. 990, your taxpayer funds can be used "to address the unmet needs for wildlife and the habitats on which the wildlife depend."
In other words, private property can be condemned for nearly any reason that can be cooked up by extreme preservationists and their allies in federal and state agencies.
THIRD: S. 990 exempts government land acquisition agents from FACA, the Federal Advisory Committee Act!!!!! Despite scandals and misappropriation of funds with Pittman-Robertson money in the past few years!!! And despite the current case of federal and state agents working together to plant lynx hairs in a national forest in order to eliminate access, S. 990 proposes to exempt these very same agents from public scrutiny under the FACA law!!!
To quote directly from S. 990: "Coordination with State fish and game department personnel or with personnel of any other state agency under this Act shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act."
America Land Rights Association
Reminder, Senators Frank Murkowski and Ted Steven did NOT oppose this legislation! They are both up for election this year.
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Remember this when you vote.