Sen. Lee: Utah deserves robust debate over use of public lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee called on Sen. Harry Reid, the senate majority leader, to end the abuse of procedural tactics used to prevent debate on legislation.  In a speech on the senate floor, Lee said that by “filling the tree” the majority leader blocked other senators from offering “any amendments other than those few that the majority leader decided could be offered.”

The Senate is currently considering legislation that would have a wide range of effects on public land use, as well as wildlife conservation and management. Lee said he voted to proceed to the bill believing he would have an opportunity to offer up amendments.

“The bill is important to me in many respects,” Lee said in his speech. “One of the things that has gotten my attention is that it addresses a number of issues related to federal public lands. It addresses a number of other issues related to wildlife conservation, wildlife management and other issues that are important to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts across the country. One of the reasons why this bill is especially important to me is that I represent the great state of Utah, a state that has a lot of federal land.”

He inquired as to why the majority leader felt it necessary to block the amendment process when the Senate has shown the ability to debate and amend broad and complicated pieces of legislation in the past, such as the National Defense Authorization Act and the Farm Bill.

“I appreciated the majority leader’s willingness in that circumstance to allow us to have a pretty open, robust debate and discussion and an open amendment process,” he said. “We still passed the bill even though we had to conduct a lot of debate, a lot of discussion, and a lot of votes.”

Lee concluded: “I ask him, I implore him as my friend to reconsider this practice of ‘filling the tree’ and thereby forestalling the introduction of amendments. We need an open amendment process. Our status as the world’s greatest deliberative legislative body requires nothing less.”

View Lee’s address:

Submitted by the Office of Sen. Mike Lee.

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7 Comments

  • Karen November 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Perhaps Majority Leader Reid doesn’t want to waste the Senate’s time with a Mike Lee amendment such as one that would sell off public lands to reduce the national debt. He and Jason Chaffetz have introduced legislation to the that effect (Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act). Mike Lee’s idea of “robust discussions” consists of selling off Utah lands to the highest bidder.

    Mr. Lee’s time would be better spent by solving more immediate problems like the looming fiscal cliff. Mr. Lee, you could give the middle class immediate assurance that their taxes won’t go up come January. You could do that right now. Do it.

  • william November 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Everyone should care. The federal government was not created to be the owner of the land; it was created expressly to get the “right of soil” out of the hands of a king – that is, out of the hands of government.

    The sovereign right of the king to own, to tax and control the use of land led directly to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and, after six years of bloody war, to the Treaty of Paris in 1783. This treaty was not with the federal government, which did not yet exist. The treaty was between the king of England and each of the enumerated states. The treaty specifically recognizes these states:

    …to be free sovereign and independent states, that he [the king] treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

    • Damie November 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Utah did not exist as a state yet in 1783.

      • william November 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        The federal government was not created to be the owner of the land;

  • Tyler November 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I’m offended to see fox noise on your page!!!!

  • ken November 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I’m calling on Mike Lee and all the other obstructionist in the Sentae and the House to do somehting for the benefit of the United States and not just their parties! Talk about a total waste of money and corruption.

  • Ron November 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    This nonsense about public lands is nothing more than grandstanding on the part of politicians more concerned about their own egos than about the REAL problems confronting the country. Whining and crying about public lands is about as helpful as petitioning for secession. Would you please do something meaningful, Senator Lee, something that might actually help the country?

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