Tentative Budget Compromise Would Mean Some Relief For National Park Service

A tentative budget compromise reached by congressional negotiators would, if approved by the full Congress and the White House, mean some relief for the National Park Service.

Craig Obey, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the tentative deal as crafted "helps reduce the damage that the broken budgeting process has been inflicting on our national parks."

"...The budget deal opens the door for congressional appropriators to do a better job for America’s national parks, their visitors, and local economies, than has been the case in recent times, though this is not guaranteed," Mr. Obey went on in a prepared statement.

“The budget agreement, though far from perfect, is much better than maintaining the full sequester levels this year and next, and likely will result in reinstating some rangers who were cut due to the sequester."

The compromise to be put before the full House and Senate would do away with $63 billion in pending across-the-board cuts to domestic and military budgets. If approved, the deal also would remove the threat of a government shutdown in mid-January.

Still, Mr. Obey said Congress still needs to restore to the Park Service funding lost through the sequestration cuts early this year.

"...our parks likely will continue to lack the ability to restore all the rangers they lost to the sequester and other cuts, and closed signs are likely to remain at park facilities—part and parcel of a slow motion shutdown for our national parks that cannot be sustained without irreparable damage," he said. "The imposed sequester cuts left 2,000 fewer rangers to protect and manage park resources, abruptly impacting the visitor experience by closing campgrounds, visitor centers and roads.

"The budget deal restores most of sequester cuts, but does not guarantee that the congressional appropriations committees will provide the resources the parks need to put needed rangers back in our parks and begin to address the maintenance backlog."


It's better than nothing. is that all we can expect in 2014?

That's all I can say about it.


Tentative Budget Compromise Would Mean Some Relief For National Park Service

But more peril for the country. But thats OK, we can send the country down the tubes as long as the parks get a crumb.

We'll see if this actually manages to pass both the House and Senate and then get a signature at the White House.

If so, perhaps the greatest significance is that both parties actually agreed on any kind of a budget deal without taking the country to the brink - or beyond - of another shutdown or similar manufactured crisis.

Based on limited details so far, it sounds like there are some items both parties aren't happy with including - or not including - in the bill. Could this possibly signal a glimmer of hope for those seemingly lost concepts of compromise and cooperation in the halls of Congress?

But compromise will send the country down the tube, won't it?

Seriously, after reading a lot about this and watching a very informative and unbiased piece on the PBS Newshour this evening, I'm kind of optimistic.

But compromise will send the country down the tube, won't it?

Yes, if it doesn't stop our out of control deficit spending it will send our country down the tubes. The goal isn't compromise, the goal is financial viability. The current (and compromised) path isn't financially viable.

Danny, am inclined to agree, at least the January 5th deadline maybe off the table, that will certainly help the parks and those other agencies and their employees who will not suffer another debacle like the recent October 1st situation. But that said, I am disappointed in the proposed compromise. Again, the trickle down economics, budget deficit is a disaster waiting to happen crowd, appears to have protected the welfare to corporations, tax breaks for the richest americans, well the income gains will continue to go to the top 10%, (some say 1%), while the rest of us, our parks, schools, roads, environment, living wages, pensions and medical plans, just to name a few, will foot the bill. Our poorest citizens of course will pay the highest price. After 30 years of failed "free market" economic policy, you would think we could do better than this. But lets hope for the best.

Ron, you just nailed the real reasons the country may go down the tube. Thank you for a rational comment.

I strongly believe this budget deal is about the best that could have been gotten in the current circumstances. Conservatives want more reforms to entitlement programs, progressives want more tax revenue, and so on. Well, neither will happen in a divided government unless both sides really decide to sacrifice some of their priorities for a "grand bargain." So at least they (logically) met in the middle to ameliorate some of the worst parts of the sequester for the next two years and provide some budget stability. This is a good thing for the parks.

As Mr. Obey noted and as I pointed out earlier, this will also give time for an omnibus spending bill to be negotiated that will allocate resources more wisely than the sequester's cuts. Again, this is a good thing - the appropriators have been hoping to get to do this for somet time.

Technically, if such a spending bill is not agreed upon, it is possible that another government shutdown would occur on January 15th when the current CR expires. Highly unlikely, however.

Finally, I can't hold back from responding to rmackies's blatant partisan trolling. Seriously, failed "free market" economic policy? I'm truly hoping your quotation marks are simply a sarcastic reference rather than a literal statement... (I guess some will just have to wish for President Warren in 2016?)

After 30 years of failed "free market" economic policy, you would think we could do better than this. But lets hope for the best.

Don't know what world you have been living in. Please do tell, what "free market" policy failed?

Countryman, thank you for your post. I think it is a good summary of my own less than expert opinion on the the current proposed deal between the House and the Senate. I also felt that the press conference with Congressman Ryan and Senator Murray was quite good, the mutual respect they showed to each other impressed me. We may disagree on my own disappointment of the deal, and my own opinion of our "free market economy" as currently practiced, but that is an issue that maybe not appropriate for this excellent website.

I can easily discern the different political and economic philosophies among the regulars here, and it's probably too much to sort out by trading comments back and forth.

I'm just glad that Congress finally stopped acting like our commenters here, and actually moved the ball down the road in some small ways. Agree to disagree, right? Let the American people and the elections hopefully sort out those bigger questions over time.

Ron - In respect to the cite I won't pen a long piece on our current "free market" or lack there of. But, I implore you to do some research on your own. Study the role of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA which controlled 95% of the mortgages in 2008. Investigate the Community Reinvestment Act and the pressures it created on banks to grant loans to unqualified buyers. Study the actions of Janet Reno and the Justice Department who were suing lenders because they weren't lending to enough low income borrowers. If you educate yourself on these (and related) issues you will understand how far way we are from a true "free market" and that the crash and debacle since has nothing to do with free market policies.

Countryman, Thanks for your post. Like you, I support the deal developed by Ryan/Murray.

While I hate to see reductions (the sequester) decline in the short term, our system is about compromise between parties in support of the national interests. I want to see regular order restored.

I am not in support of an omnibus bill for the budget. The Patriot Act was a giant omnibus bill. The Stimulus was a giant omnibus bill. Obamacare was a giant omnibus bill. No one read any of them. None of them have been successful. All have created at least as many problems as they have addressed.

I want individual appropriation bills by Department with vigorous debate in Congress. Like we had for 200 years...

Like you, I decry the blatant partisan trolling. There's a lot of it here. You'd think adults could present their arguments without it. Evidently not everyone can...

I want individual appropriation bills by Department with vigorous debate in Congress. Like we had for 200 years...

At the risk of being charged with "blatant partisan trolling", I agree with you 100% on this point.

Ec, you weren't one of the 'blatant partisan trollers' that immediately came to my (admittedly partisan) mind. :)

Some have suggested a biennial budgeting cycle for the federal government would make it easier to set spending levels, allocate resources, and conduct budgetary oversight before repeating the process again. Seems like a practical idea, but there are many drawbacks. I think Congress would still find a way to mangle the process, no matter how much time is given.