CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1694 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage on April 21, 2009. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Holt (D-NJ) on March 24, 2009. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which has taken no official action.
H.R. 1694 would require the Secretary of Interior to establish a new federal grant program to acquire battlefields that have been identified in the Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States. The bill would authorize $10 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for each year from 2010 to 2014 to fund the grant program. Land could only be acquired from willing sellers, and the federal share of the purchase price could be no more than 50 percent.
The Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States was compiled by the National Park Service (NPS) and submitted to Congress on June 12, 2008. According to NPS, "This study is the broadest Federal effort to identify important places associated with the two wars." The report identifies 677 specific significant places identified with the two wars. H.R. 1694 would authorize $50 million from the NPS' Land and Water Conservation Fund over five years to make grants to purchase land in the report from willing sellers for historic preservation. Identical legislation (H.R. 160) was passed in the 110th Congress by voice vote on September 24, 2008.
This legislation was originally passed in the House as H.R. 146 on March 3, 2009. The bill passed under a suspension of the rules by a vote of 394 - 13. However, the bill was amended in the Senate, and the underlying bill was replaced by the text of S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. The amended version of H.R. 146 passed the House on March 25, 2009, by a vote of 285 - 140.
A CBO score for H.R. 146 was not available at press time. However, a CBO score for H.R. 160 (an identical bill considered in the 110th Congress) estimated that H.R. 1694 would cost $42 million from Fiscal Year 2010 through Fiscal Year 2014.