Senate advances sportsmen's bill

Reid said he hoped to get an agreement with Republicans to hold a final vote on the bill Thursday night so that the Senate could recess until after Thanksgiving.

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The Sportsmen’s Act increases hunters' and fishermen’s access to federal lands. To get more Democrats on board, the bill includes conservation measures, such as establishing a National Fish Habitat Board and extending the sale of stamps, the proceeds from which go to conservation funds that help elephants, tigers, rhinos, great apes and marine turtles.

"Sportsmen and -women across Montana and the nation are calling for responsible decisions that strengthen our outdoor economy and secure our outdoor heritage for future generations," Tester said. "This measure does just that, taking good ideas from Republicans and Democrats to protect our hunting and fishing traditions and safeguard our most treasured places. I will keep pushing to get it across the finish line."

Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem senators back Interior coal leasing review Trump and Sanders whip up debate buzz Boxer: Sanders appeals to young voters with grandpa effect MORE (D-Calif.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.), John CornynJohn CornynClinton email headache is about to get worse Overnight Tech: House GOP launches probe into phone, internet subsidies Senators hope for deal soon on mental health bill MORE (R-Texas), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mike LeeMike LeeMeet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Overnight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns MORE (R-Utah), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezDems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Lobbying World This week: GOP lawmakers reckon with Trump MORE (D-N.J.), Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate MORE (R-Ky.), Jack ReedJack ReedSenators push to authorize 4,000 more visas for Afghans Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges Reid throws wrench into Clinton vice presidential picks MORE (D-R.I.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsGOP senator: 'I would consider’ being Trump’s VP Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise MORE (R-Ala.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) voted against the motion.

Sessions said one reason he wasn't supporting the motion was because the bill would allow the Department of Interior to set the price of duck stamps rather than Congress — something he said the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee rejected.

"It gives the Department of Interior, unelected bureaucrats, power to decided how much to charge for a duck stamp," Sessions said. "Which has always been determined by Congress, not government bureaucracy."

One part of the bill that’s proven controversial is a provision from Rep. Don YoungDon YoungCherry Blossom Princesses begin their annual reign Republicans raise legal questions ahead of Gitmo order House votes to speed up tribal energy projects MORE (R-Alaska), H.R. 991, that would allow American hunters to bring home polar-bear carcasses being stored in Canada because of the ban on trophy imports.

Sens. John KerryJohn KerryAn all-female ticket? Not in 2016 GOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid Obamas to live in home of former Clinton press secretary: report MORE (D-Mass.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced an amendment that would strike that portion of the bill. Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges MORE (D-Conn.) co-sponsored the amendment, among others.

“I find this very disturbing,” Blumenthal said of the polar-bear portion of the bill. “This provision of the Sportsmen’s Act undermines current wildlife protections and further imperils an already threatened species by encouraging future killings for sport.”

Polar bears are listed as a threatened species by the Fish and Wildlife Services.

In addition to dealing with polar-bear trophies, the bill removes ammunition and tackle from the federal list regulating waste that contains lead, among other things.

This aricle was updated at 11 a.m. to include Sen. Sessions' remarks.

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