07.22.20

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act

Historic conservation legislation to fully fund LWCF and address federal lands maintenance backlog now heads to President’s desk

Washington, D.C. – Today in a bipartisan 310-107 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, historic conservation legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands, which includes projects at our National Parks. The U.S. Senate passed Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act 73-25 in June and the bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to become law.

GAOA House Passage

NOTE: Click here or the picture above to download Senator Gardner’s remarks.

NOTE: Click here to download B-roll.

“By fixing and repairing our public lands and National Parks, we not only have the chance to improve the roads, hiking trails, campsites, and visitor centers for generations to enjoy, but also to create thousands of job opportunities in Colorado and across the nation at a time when our country needs them most,” said Senator Gardner. “The LWCF not only provides funding to support and protect public lands, but it also dedicates 40 percent of its funding to state and local communities for things like city parks and ballfields, which allows people everywhere to enjoy the great outdoors. I’m proud to have worked with my Democratic colleague Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia to usher this bill through Congress, I applaud the House of Representatives for taking quick action on this historic legislation, and I look forward to the President signing this bill into law.”

Gardner is a champion for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the U.S. Senate:

  • The U.S. House Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act in July 2020.
  • Gardner held numerous events across Colorado’s Western Slope in July 2020 to discuss how his Great American Outdoors Act will benefit Colorado’s public lands and stimulate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Gardner hosted U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Jim Hubbard in Colorado in June 2020 to discuss Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act.
  • Leading conservation groups in Colorado and across the country praised the Senate’s historic passageof the Great American Outdoors Act in June 2020.
  • On June 17, the U.S. Senate passed Gardner’s bipartisan bill, the Great American Outdoors Act with a strong bipartisan vote of 73-25.
  • Theodore Roosevelt IV, the great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, urged passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in June 2020.
  • A new report from the National Park Service released in June 2020 highlighted the popularity of our National Parks and the significant contributions they make to the economy, which Gardner’s legislation will support by addressing the $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands.
  • In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Gardner explained how the Great American Outdoors Act will boost Colorado’s economy and create thousands of jobs. To express what public lands mean to him, to Coloradans, and people all across our country, Gardner shared the story of Amache, a World War II Japanese-American internment camp, which he supports inclusion of in the National Park System.
  • Outdoor recreation businesses wrote to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer in June 2020 in support of the Great American Outdoors Act, saying it would “support communities in all 50 states, support rural economies, create jobs to carry out essential work, and provide opportunities for millions of Americans to recreate on our public lands and waters for generations to come.”
  • In June 2020, Gardner led a bipartisan group of senators in calling for passage of the Great American Outdoors Act on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act in June 2020.
  • Six bipartisan former U.S. Secretaries of the Interior, including Coloradans Ken Salazar and Gale Norton, urged swift passage of Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act in June 2020.
  • In May 2020, Gardner secured confirmation that the U.S. Senate would consider his Great American Outdoors Act in June.
  • In May 2020, more than 800 conservation groups sent a letter to congressional leadership supporting the passage of Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act.
  • In April 2020, Gardner and other members of the Colorado congressional delegation called on leaders of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House to consider including Gardner’s Great American Outdoors Act in future COVID-19 legislation.
  • The day after introducing the Great American Outdoors Act, Gardner discussed this historic legislationwith U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt at a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • In March 2020, Gardner introduced the Great American Outdoors Act to fully and permanently fund the LWCF and immediately address the nearly $20 billion in maintenance backlog at our public lands.
  • In March 2020, Colorado-based businesses and organizations called on Congress to pass Gardner’s legislation to fully and permanently fund the LWCF.
  • A broad group of conservation leaders in Colorado and around the country praised Senators Gardner and Daines for securing President Trump’s support for full and permanent LWCF funding and addressing the maintenance backlog on federal lands in March 2020.
  • Senators Gardner and Daines held a bipartisan press conference in March 2020 announcing they secured President Trump’s support for bipartisan legislation to provide full and permanent funding for the LWCF and address the $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks.
  • Gardner helped secure $495 million for the LWCF in December 2019, the highest funding level in more than 15 years.
  • Conservation groups in Colorado and across the country praised Gardner’s efforts to secure full and permanent funding for the LWCF in November 2019.
  • The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed S. 1081, the bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act in November 2019, a bill introduced by Gardner that will make the full funding of LWCF mandatory every fiscal year.
  • In November 2019, Gardner received ConservAmerica’s “Congressional Champion” award for his strong record promoting conservation policies.
  • In October 2019, Gardner and a bipartisan group of Senators introduced an amendment to the appropriations bill to fully fund the LWCF.
  • The first ever state-level data on the outdoor recreation economy was released in September 2019, as a direct result of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC Act), introduced by Senators Gardner and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). President Obama signed the Outdoor REC Act into law in 2016.
  • Senators Gardner and Michael Bennet (D-CO) called on the leaders of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to include full, permanent funding for the LWCF in the fiscal year 2020 funding agreement in September 2019.
  • Gardner, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act in April 2019 to permanently fund the LWCF at $900 million every year.
  • Gardner received the 2019 National Park Heritage Award in April 2019 from the National Parks Conservation Association for his leadership in the signing into law of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which included permanent reauthorization of the LWCF.
  • In 2019, Gardner led the fight to pass and have signed into law by the President the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which included a Gardner-sponsored bill topermanently reauthorize the LWCF.
  • In November 2018, Gardner held a press conference with other LWCF champions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives calling for the reauthorization and fully funding of America’s most important conservation program.
  • In October 2018, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed both the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the LWCF, and the Restore our Park Act in October 2018. Gardner was a cosponsor of both pieces of legislation.
  • Gardner and 12 bipartisan colleagues in the U.S. Senate urged the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF in August 2018 before it was set to expire.
  • In July 2018, Gardner and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill to permanently authorize the LWCF before it was set to expire.
  • In a July 2018 op-ed in the Denver Post, Senators Gardner and Michael Bennet (D-CO) touted the importance of the LWCF to Colorado and said, “It is time for Congress to stop the serial, short-term extensions of this program and make LWCF permanent with the full dedicated funding it deserves.”
  • At a bipartisan LWCF press conference in June 2018, Gardner promoted the 100-day campaign to make the LWCF’s authorization permanent.
  • In a May 2018 op-ed in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Gardner touted the importance of the LWCF as well as addressing the growing maintenance backlog on federal public lands.
  • Gardner introduced legislation to permanently reauthorize the LWCF with a bipartisan group of colleagues in April 2017.
  • In September 2016, Gardner and several of his colleagues wrote to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) requesting that permanent reauthorization of the LWCF be included in any final legislation that emerged from the energy bill conference.
  • In February 2016, Gardner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which included permanent reauthorization of the LWCF.
  • In November 2015, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed permanent reauthorization of the LWCF with Gardner’s support.
  • Gardner and bipartisan colleagues sent a letter to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid in November 2015 urging that permanent reauthorization of the LWCF be included in any must-pass year end legislation.
  • Gardner pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid for permanent reauthorization of the LWCF in September 2015.
  • In April 2015 the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the LWCF, which Gardner called “the nation’s most important conservation program.”
  • Gardner voted in favor of an amendment to permanently reauthorize the LWCF in his first month in the Senate.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.