September 23, 2019

Sen. Murkowski Once Again Blocking Passage of Wolf Delisting Bill

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An email from Tom Petri, State Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (WI):

This is the fourth year in a row we’ve tried to get the wolf delist bill attached to the annual Interior & Environment (I&E) appropriations bill as a non-fiscal / policy rider.   Each of the past three years, we’ve gotten it into the final House spending bill, but not into the Senate’s.

Senator Murkowski (R-AK) has been the chairwoman of the Senate’s I&E appropriations subcommittee since 2014, and she has final say over the issue when the House-passed and Senate-passed bills are conferenced in an attempt to reconcile the differences between the two and find a final compromise.

The problem, to me, is that she always lets her staff cave in to democrats’ demands, and the wolf delist language, and most every other ESA-related policy rider always get pulled out of the final report at the very end of the process.

As you know, the vast majority of the Senate Dems view it as a poison pill policy rider, and the vast majority of Senate Republicans come from unaffected states, so most don’t care.  Murkowski’s staff always indicate they had to let it go in order to secure enough democrat support, and therefore allow the larger spending bill to have enough support for passage in the Senate (always need 60 votes).

To recap, while we’re hopeful, and Sen. Johnson is certainly engaged on a personal level again, I’m skeptical that Sen. Murkowski (or Leader McConnell for that matter) will suddenly prioritize the issue on our behalf this year.   If you think about it, they didn’t prioritize it and help us in 2016 when he was up for re-election, why would they now?

The Senator and staff are trying to work behind the scenes to make sure the House language survives the conference process, once we get there next month.

Hope that helps.  Feel free to share my update.

Tom-

Tom Petri

State Legislative Director

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

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