Greetings Cabin Owners,
We have come far, but we still have much work to do in the new 112th Congress. Mr. Aubrey King, our Washington DC Representative, has provided an update (below) on the status of the Cabin Fee Act in Congress. The update is also provided as an attachment that includes the email addresses for all the co-sponsors of H.R.4888 and S.3929 for reference.
Two other thoughts. We will be requesting continued grassroots support from you and your cabin neighbors in the next few weeks and months. Broad participation remains essential to ultimate success this year. Please be ready to do your part when requested. Also, you will be receiving another request for financial support of Coalition 2 and NFH efforts.
We offer a sincere thank you to all those who have made recent donations. Our success depends on our combined work together, and your involvement is much appreciated! Please share this document with all your cabin friends.
NFH Director & C2 Legislative Contact chair
253-383-2388 Home Office
The Cabin Fee Act made significant progress in the 111th Congress following its initial introduction as H.R. 4888 by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) March 19, 2010. Following a successful hearing by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in April and a favorable mark-up by the full Natural Resources Committee in July, the bill received a critical positive verdict of "zero budget impact" from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in November. A companion bill was introduced September 29, 2010, by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as S. 3929. Unfortunately, time ran out before the CFA could be enacted into law. Both House and Senate bills received strong bipartisan support. Concurrent efforts to obtain a legislative moratorium on 2011 cabin fee increases were frustrated when Congress failed to pass comprehensive appropriations legislation for FY 2011 and instead approved only a "clean" (no amendments) short term Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal government until March 4, 2011.
With the start of the 112th Congress, there is reason to believe the prospects for the Cabin Fee Act are very good. In the House, last year's CFA champion, Rep. Hastings, is now the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and is committed to give the CFA early and positive consideration. The important House Interior Appropriations Committee is now chaired by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who is a strong supporter of the bill. In the Senate, we expect Senator Tester to introduce a CFA companion early in the year and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee, to support the bill and hold an early subcommittee hearing.
In the meantime, the Forest Service has decided not to send out cabin fee bills for amounts greater than those paid in 2010 until more is known about what the new Congress wants to do. This means that there will be no higher fee bills until at least after March 4th. The NFH and the C2 Coalition is working to ensure that Congress either enacts a moratorium or other legislation before March 4th to block higher 2011 fee bills and to advance the Cabin Fee Act measurably towards passage and enactment into law.
The key major steps for the CFA in 2011:
(1) Have Congress enact a 2011 fee moratorium or, at least direct the FS not to send out higher fee bills until after mid-year to provide time for the CFA to move through Congress;
(2) Work with Chairman Hastings to obtain early passage of the CFA in the House of Representatives, including holding a successful House hearing if necessary;
(3) Work with Senator Tester to introduce a companion CFA early in the session and work with Chairman Wyden to obtain a successful Senate hearing on the CFA as early in the session as possible;
(4) Work to get a favorable Senate Energy and Natural Resources mark-up of the CFA with Senate passage by the fall and subsequent enactment.
A strategy of success will include at least the following elements:
(1) Obtain as many as possible of the 28 House cosponsors of H.R. 4888 (listed below) to cosponsor the new 2011 CFA (only Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA), who retired, and, most tragically, Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), are not available to cosponsor the bill in the 112th Congress);
(2) Obtain more Senate cosponsors beyond the six who cosponsored the bill when it was introduced late in the 111th Congress (listed below);
(3) Avoid if at all possible any changes in the 2010 bill that would require a reanalysis by the CBO, which could delay the bill for month;
(4) Continue to obtain strong grassroots cabin owner support to communicate to Congress the absolute need to enact the CFA in 2011 or risk dramatically escalating cabin fees that will forever reduce and transform the cabin program so that it will no longer be the outstanding provider of multi-generational, middle-class family recreation that it is now and has been historically.