Veterans could get lifetime passes to nat'l parks in new bill

A few months back, a constituent of mine named David Chilbert sent me an email explaining a few thoughts he had on our national parks.

Specifically, he said that senior citizens currently have access to a lifetime pass for our national parks, available for a fee. Active duty members of the military also enjoy free access to our parks.

So Mr. Chilbert asked, why not create a special pass for veterans, again available for a nominal fee, that would enable them to have lifetime free access? I frankly didn’t have a good answer for why not. Couldn’t think of any.

So I set about drafting a piece of legislation to create exactly such a pass. As it would happen, yesterday morning, I had the privilege of testifying before the committee that oversees our national parks. They invited me because they are considering including my bill as a provision in one of their bills.

Now, it’s always hard to predict the chances of success for any given piece of legislation. The vast, vast majority of the thousands of bills introduced each Congress never even get consideration in a committee. Much less passed by the House committees, then the full House and the Senate committees, and the full Senate and signed into law by the President.

But I’m hopeful for this one. It’s entirely possible that one day soon, the veterans of this great nation may be able to enjoy for a lifetime the very national parks that they fought to defend.

Had Mr. Chilbert not sent me that e-mail, that probably wouldn’t be the case. So to Mr. Chilbert, on behalf of the veterans who (potentially) will be able to utilize this pass, thanks for reaching out.

I can’t speak for other member of Congress, but I can promise you that when you send me an email, I see it. It may take me a little while to respond and I may not always agree with your conclusions, but I do take your input seriously …

On the House Floor

As for the floor activity this week - we are in the midst of moving a few pieces of legislation that will improve the way we do budgeting up here in Washington.

It’s not the flashiest legislation in the world, but suffice it to say, there are some of us who don’t think that increasing spending by an amount less than anticipated should be treated as a cut by our official government accounting department.

In other words, you can't increase spending and say you cut spending at the same time.

I don’t want to take up too much of your time right now, so I’ll save the specifics for when we wrap everything up next week. Until then, if there’s something that you think I should be aware of, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Richard Nugent,
Member of Congress, 11th Congressional District