Posted: 8:39 pm Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
By Jamie Dupree
At 1,648 pages, the National Defense Authorization bill up for a vote on Thursday in the House probably won’t be read by too many lawmakers or reporters – but a quick peek shows it’s about more than just the Pentagon.
Yes, there are major policy items in this bill, like a provision that bars another round of military base closures, as it authorizes $521.3 billion for military agencies, plus another $63.7 billion for overseas U.S. military operations.
But when you actually read through the bill – or the 513 page explanatory statement – you finally stumble on a number of items that don’t relate to the military at all.
For some lawmakers, it was a legislative product that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.
Just in time for Christmas, Congress sneaks hundreds of millions worth of pork into unrelated Defense bill via backroom deals. #SecretSanta
— Sen. Tom Coburn M.D. (@TomCoburn) December 3, 2014
As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) called out negotiators for adding in dozens of items on national parks, designations and monuments from all around the nation.
Here’s the full list of lands measures:
Sec. 3001. Land conveyance, Wainwright, Alaska.
Sec. 3002. Sealaska land entitlement finalization.
Sec. 3003. Southeast Arizona land exchange and conservation.
Sec. 3004. Land exchange, Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, and Bureau of Land Management land in Riverside County, California.
Sec. 3005. Special rules for Inyo National Forest, California, land exchange.
Sec. 3006. Land exchange, Trinity Public Utilities District, Trinity County, California, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service.
Sec. 3007. Idaho County, Idaho, shooting range land conveyance.
Sec. 3008. School District 318, Minnesota, land exchange.
Sec. 3009. Northern Nevada land conveyances.
Sec. 3010. San Juan County, New Mexico, Federal land conveyance.
Sec. 3011. Land conveyance, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
Sec. 3012. Conveyance of certain land to the city of Fruit Heights, Utah.
Sec. 3013. Land conveyance, Hanford Site, Washington.
Sec. 3014. Ranch A Wyoming consolidation and management improvement.
Sec. 3021. Bureau of Land Management permit processing.
Sec. 3022. Internet-based onshore oil and gas lease sales.
Sec. 3023. Grazing permits and leases.
Sec. 3024. Cabin user and transfer fees.
Sec. 3030. Addition of Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light to the Apostle Islands National Seashore.
Sec. 3031. Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.
Sec. 3032. Coltsville National Historical Park.
Sec. 3033. First State National Historical Park.
Sec. 3034. Gettysburg National Military Park.
Sec. 3035. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, Maryland.
Sec. 3036. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Auburn, New York.
Sec. 3037. Hinchliffe Stadium addition to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
Sec. 3038. Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site.
Sec. 3039. Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Sec. 3040. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness.
Sec. 3041. Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.
Sec. 3042. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Sec. 3043. Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico.
Sec. 3044. Vicksburg National Military Park.
Sec. 3050. Revolutionary War and War of 1812 American battlefield protection program.
Sec. 3051. Special resource studies.
Sec. 3052. National heritage areas and corridors.
Sec. 3053. National historic site support facility improvements.
Sec. 3054. National Park System donor acknowledgment.
Sec. 3055. Coin to commemorate 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
Sec. 3056. Commission to study the potential creation of a National Women’s History Museum.
Sec. 3057. Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
Sec. 3060. Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers protection.
Sec. 3061. Columbine-Hondo Wilderness.
Sec. 3062. Hermosa Creek watershed protection.
Sec. 3063. North Fork Federal lands withdrawal area.
Sec. 3064. Pine Forest Range Wilderness.
Sec. 3065. Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area and wilderness additions.
Sec. 3066. Wovoka Wilderness.
Sec. 3067. Withdrawal area related to Wovoka Wilderness.
Sec. 3068. Withdrawal and reservation of additional public land for Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California.
Sec. 3071. Illabot Creek, Washington, wild and scenic river.
Sec. 3072. Missisquoi and Trout wild and scenic rivers, Vermont.
Sec. 3073. White Clay Creek wild and scenic river expansion.
Sec. 3074. Studies of wild and scenic rivers.
Sec. 3077. Land taken into trust for benefit of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Sec. 3078. Transfer of administrative jurisdiction, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Sec. 3081. Ensuring public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument.
Sec. 3082. Anchorage, Alaska, conveyance of reversionary interests.
Sec. 3083. Release of property interests in Bureau of Land Management land conveyed to the State of Oregon for establishment of Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Sec. 3087. Bureau of Reclamation hydropower development.
Sec. 3088. Toledo Bend Hydroelectric Project.
Sec. 3089. East Bench Irrigation District contract extension.
Sec. 3091. Commemoration of centennial of World War I.
Sec. 3092. Miscellaneous issues related to Las Vegas valley public land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.
Sec. 3093. National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial.
Sec. 3094. Extension of legislative authority for establishment of commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams.
Sec. 3095. Refinancing of Pacific Coast groundfish fishing capacity reduction loan.
Coburn argues that the Park Service is already struggling with its lands inventory.
As NPS faces an unsustainable $12B maintenance backlog, parochial Congress is set to enact largest NPS expansion in decades. #SecretSanta
— Sen. Tom Coburn M.D. (@TomCoburn) December 3, 2014
Not everyone was irked, as local lawmakers who had a project included were more than happy to trumpet their legislative victory.
Congress poised to pass my Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act preserving our past & investing in our future.
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) December 3, 2014
Senate action on the bill is expected next week, as the Congress tries to wrap up its work for 2014 – though Sen. Coburn, who is retiring at the end of the year, might have one final legislative flourish to offer against this legislation.
Also in the bill is a major reform in the way the federal government does business on IT – information technology; but, the interesting part is that it applies to everything in the federal government except the military.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.