Geoscience Policy Monthly Review
november 2016

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Congress passes outdoor recreation bill

November 28, 2016

Congress successfully passed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 (H.R.4665). The bill passed the House on November 14 and the Senate on November 28. It will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.

Introduced by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), H.R. 4665 requires the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior to partner with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to analyze and quantify the effect outdoor recreation has on the U.S. economy. Senators Jean Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced a similar bill in October 2015 that ultimately did not pass.

The bill requires the first federally led comprehensive analysis of the U.S. outdoor recreational industry, and will cover all aspects of the outdoor recreation sector, including employment, sales, travel, and tourism. This report must be submitted no later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the bill.

Sources:, Congressman Don Beyer, Outdoor Industry Association

Republican Party maintains Senate and House majority after election

December 2, 2016

The Republican Party has maintained its majority in the Senate and House of Representatives after the 2016 Congressional Election. In total, 469 congressional seats were up for election, comprised of 34 Senate seats, and al 435 House seats. In the Senate, Democrats claimed two seats, while Republicans lost three seats, causing a final count of 46 Democrats, 51 Republicans, and 3 Independents. In the House, Democrats claimed 6 seats, leaving a final count of 194 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

Notable changes in Congressional ranks include the defeat of Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and Rep. David Jolly (R-FL), both avid supporters of the geosciences.

While committee chairs have yet to be formally announced, the House GOP Steering Committee elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden will replace former chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Additionally, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) will be filling the role of Appropriations chairman in place of former chair Rep. Hal Rugers (R-KY).

Sources: Congressman Greg Walden