Roe co-signs legislation to reimburse states who pay to have national parks opened during shutdown
The shutdown of the federal government has closed access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including the Cades Cove Loop near Townsend, shown in this Instagram photo. U.S. Rep. Phil Roe has co-signed a law to reimburse states who pay to keep national parks open.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe has signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill designed to help the states that rely on tourism dollars related to national parks, not be too adversely affected by the shutdown.
U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Utah, introduced the legislation that will ensure states are reimbursed within 90 days for all state funds spent to pay for national park operations.
The parks were closed as part of “non-essential” functions that were included in the ongoing government shutdown battle.
Last week some states made deals with the federal government to reopen parks at state expense. In Tennessee, that has been a problematic issue for Gov. Bill Haslam because the Great Smoky Mountain National Park straddles state lines.
“Our national parks not only represent an important part of this country’s heritage—they are important drivers of many state economies,” Daines said. “While I’m pleased that the Obama administration has finally relented and allowed individual states to get our national parks open again, it’s unacceptable that a state like Montana could be forced to bear even more of a financial burden because of Washington’s failures. My legislation will protect states and ensure they receive full compensation for their work to reopen our national park gates.”
Roe noted that the fall months are especially important for the tourism industry in East Tennessee.
“This important legislation would ensure states that move forward with reopening their national parks are reimbursed when the federal government reopens,” Roe said. “This is especially important to states like Tennessee, where Gov. Haslam must balance the budget. The Smokies are a beautiful part of the great state of Tennessee and have a huge economic impact in East Tennessee, especially during the fall months. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this bill and I hope it will help reopen the gates to the parks across the country.”
The bill is being promoted as bipartisan with the support of Utah Democrat Jim Matheson, an original co-signer of the bill.
The other original co-signers are: Rob Bishop, R-UT, Paul Cook, R-CA, Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, Kevin Cramer, R-ND, John Duncan, R-TN, Trent Franks, R-AZ, Paul Gosar, R-AZ, Tom McClintock, R-CA, Mark Meadows, R-NC, Steve Pearce, R-NM, Scott Tipton, R-CO, Chris Stewart, R-UT and Lynn Westmoreland. R-GA).
-From Staff Reports