On Senate Floor, Tester Urges Support for His Great American Outdoors Act

Senator’s legislation includes full LWCF funding, $9.5 billion for public lands

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support his Great American Outdoors Act, which will invest $9.5 billion in deferred maintenance on public lands and fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and to commend the hard work of countless Montanans who have spent years advocating for preserving our nation’s wildest places.

“There are so many Montanans and folks around the country that I want to thank for putting in the work and bringing my colleagues from darkness to light [on full, permanent LWCF funding],” said Tester. “Your work has inspired me, and it’s inspired future generations that are going to benefit from your selfless efforts. I was at home last night and got a text message from one of those folks that said ‘Thank you. Thank you for your hard work for the last 13 years on LWCF.’ I sent him back a text that said ‘I don’t deserve the thank you, you do.’”

Tester concluded: “So I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes on the Great American Outdoors Act so we can preserve our public lands for future generations—for our kids and our grandkids—just as the visionary President Teddy Roosevelt did for us.”

Yesterday, after more than a decade of unyielding efforts to guarantee full, permanent funding for LWCF, Tester led a bipartisan group of colleagues in a key vote to bring legislation that provides mandatory funding for the program, among other public lands measures, one step closer to the President’s desk.

Tester has consistently faced partisan obstruction in previous efforts to provide full, permanent funding for LWCF, and has many times called on his Republican colleagues to apply pressure to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up legislation. In early March, in the face of widespread, bipartisan support on the ground built over years of grassroots work by public lands advocates across the country, President Trump abruptly announced his support for full funding of the program, and Senator McConnell promised to bring legislation up for a vote.

Until recently, Tester has been the only member of the Montana delegation to support full, mandatory funding for LWCF.

Tester originally introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act in 2009 to permanently reauthorize and fully fund this critical conservation initiative and has reintroduced it every Congress since, earning him praise from local and national conservation organizations.