Amid nearly comprehensive national disarray, a glimmer of hope: Last week, the Senate passed a landmark bill establishing permanent funding to preserve America’s public lands and alleviate a huge maintenance backlog at national parks. The measure is popular, bipartisan and right on the merits – a rare trifecta in today’s Washington. Here’s hoping the House will quickly push the bill over the line.
With almost unnerving congeniality for an election year, senators passed the bill by a 73-25 vote. It will devote about $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a reserve that is supposed to go toward acquiring and preserving public lands but which has been repeatedly raided by lawmakers for other purposes. Only twice since the fund was established in Lyndon Johnson’s administration has it been fully funded.