Rep. Mike Simpson told the BW Editorial Board (Features Editor Deanna Darr, News Editor Nathaniel Hoffman and a dozen untouched DK Donuts) this morning that he does not think the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, including proposed wilderness in the Owyhee Canyonlands, will pass the House any time soon.
Simpson also said that his personal project, the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness proposal
, is going to go through the Senate first, where it might have a better chance of getting through the committee process than in the House. Simpson inferred that a certain high-profile wilderness advocate/singer-songwriter has held up his bill in the House.
"I don't think they were too excited about doing it because there is some opposition to it by individuals who influence that staff substantially, certain singers," Simpson said, referring to Carole King. "She pretty much controls that committee. So we've been working with the Senate staff."
On the Omnibus Wilderness bill, which passed the Senate, Simpson said that a lack of clear strategy may kill the bill. It is on the suspension calendar in the House, meaning it needs two-thirds vote, but 20 Democrats still oppose it and not enough Republicans exist to counteract their opposition. If the bill were to go through normally, it could get a majority vote, but Republicans would insist on guns in National Parks and it would have to go back to the Senate again, which the Senate does not want to happen.
I think we got that all right, the Microtrack 24/96 crapped out at this point in the interview.
Translation: Business as usual in Washington, D.C.?
We made a pot of coffee, but Simpson and staffers Nikki Watts and John Revere showed up with their own starbucks. The Congressman, a dentist, praised BW Publisher Sally Freeman for attending to her oral hygeine this morning rather than attending the edit board meeting (BTW, BW has no editorial board, and Freeman was dissed by her dentist for being 10 minutes late, apparently).