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 BoxerCarter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Senate panel backs B water bill with Flint aid The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Calif.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnGOP faces existential threat Sanders tops 2016 field in newly deleted tweets The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Okla.), John CornynJohn CornynFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mike LeeMike LeeCruz: Boehner unleashed his ‘inner Trump’ Senate pressured to take up email privacy bill after overwhelming House vote House unanimously passes email privacy bill MORE (R-Utah), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSenate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Senate close to voting on Mexico ambassador MORE (D-N.J.), Rand PaulRand PaulCarter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Rand Paul wants to legalize cooperation Dem fears Iran nuke deal gives license to back Saudis MORE (R-Ky.), Jack ReedJack ReedBill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims Pentagon: Russian military support for Assad remains strong Fears grow about rising US troop levels in Middle East MORE (D-R.I.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsGOP warms to Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report Donald Trump snags endorsements from two GOP chairmen 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 KerryInterior chief: ‘We will have climate refugees’ "Lebanizing" Syria Why Obama's 'cold peace' with Iran will turn hot MORE (D-Mass.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced an amendment that would strike that portion of the bill. Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalLawmaker calls for probe into 'unusual' Amazon cruise deaths Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony FDA should ban powdered caffeine, Dems say 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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