Ranking Democrat Grijalva Blasts Republicans’ Proposed House Rules Changes and Bogus Accounting to Allow Public Land Giveaways

Washington, D.C. – As the House continues to wait for a successful vote on speakership, Natural Resources Committee Ranking Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on a provision in Republicans’ proposed House Rules package that would make it easier for Congress to give away our nation’s public lands without getting a fair return for American taxpayers. The proposed rule would ban the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from accurately accounting for lost revenues from public lands that are sold or given away, including lost revenues from energy, grazing, and timber. As a result, CBO would be required to inaccurately state that any bill proposing to dispose of public lands would not have a cost to Americans that needs to be offset.

“Republicans’ proposed House Rules package is a disturbing how-to lesson in undermining the Constitution and threatening the very institution of the House,” said Grijalva. “But as if that’s not enough, they want to make it easier to cheat American taxpayers and give away our public lands for nothing in return.

“It’s been a painful week for basic math. We’ve seen Republicans struggle to count to 218—and now they’re ordering Congress’s accountants to cook the books for them. This is not good economic or environmental policy. This is Republicans doing the bidding of anti-public lands extremists—a consistent theme we’ve seen when they were in charge before and one I’m afraid we’ll see a lot more of in the next two years.”

The proposed change reflects a similar rule Republicans adopted during the 115th Congress in 2017, at the behest of then-Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-UT), a known opponent of public lands. Following the 2017 Rules change, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced a bill to take advantage of the rule and dispose of approximately 3 million acres of land in Utah, but after major public backlash, he withdrew the bill.

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