Sen. Steve Daines, Republican senator from Montana, got a big boost for his re-election campaign today when President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act.
This is going to be one of the greatest accomplishments of Donald Trump’s presidency, and may jolt some moderate Democrats into realizing Trump is not the evil Destroyer described by the Main Sleaze Press.
Don’t believe me. Here’s what Harvard Gazette reported was the assessment of Linda Bilmes, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School:
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is the biggest land conservation legislation in a generation. The National Parks Conservation Association, the leading advocacy organization for the parks, is hailing it as “a conservationist’s dream.”
The legislation has two main impacts. First, it establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that will provide up to $9 billion over the next five years to fix deferred maintenance at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other federal lands, with $6.5 billion earmarked specifically to the 419 national park units.
This funding is needed badly. The number of visitors to the national parks system has increased by 50 percent since 1980, but the parks’ budget has remained effectively flat. This imbalance has led to a $12 billion backlog of maintenance to repair roads, trails, campgrounds, monuments, fire safety, utilities, and visitor infrastructure — which will finally be addressed.
President Trump singled out Daines and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado for special praise for their dedication to getting the bill passed. Today’s success will be an important campaign issue for Daines, who just learned a new poll has him up by 6 points over far-left Gov. Steve Bullock.
At the signing ceremony, Trump said: “Senator Steve Daines, he’s a fantastic man, a fantastic senator, he’s done a wonderful job. He loves his state and he loves his country…You were unbelievable and you wouldn’t stop and look what happened right. You got it done, we appreciate it and the country appreciates it.”
As for Sen. Daines, he was equally supportive of the president:
“This is a great day for Montana, this is a great day for America and this is a great day for conservation and for all of us who love the great outdoors. The Great American Outdoors Act is a big win for conservation, it’s a big win for jobs, it’s a big win for our Montana way of life, it’s a big win for bipartisanship. It’s only fitting it took public lands to bring a divided government together.
“Mr. President, Montana thanks you. America thanks you. I thank you for signing the most important piece of conservation legislation in over 50 years for our great country.”
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