Dems fume as committee approves Republican wildlife bill

By Garrett Downs, Scott Streater | 04/16/2024 04:35 PM EDT

The House Natural Resources Committee passed several other energy bills Tuesday.

Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

House Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and senior Democrat Jared Huffman of California. The two sparred Tuesday about wildlife legislation. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday cleared a GOP-only wildlife conservation bill along party lines 21-17, over fierce objections from Democrats who derided the measure as a sham.

H.R. 7408, the “America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act,” from Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a Republican alternative challenging the bipartisan “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act,” which has been in the mix for years but failed to become law.

While the two bills share the goal of protecting wildlife habitat by providing grants to state conservation agencies, they sharply diverge in approach.


Westerman’s bill would authorize an annual appropriation of $300 million that sunsets in five years. “RAWA” would provide more than $1.3 billion in permanent funding.