Opinion

Jon Kyl: Land swap for mine on sacred Apache land isn't unusual






In October, Nizhoni Pike, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, held a coming-of-age ceremony in an area that will be affected by the land swap and the Resolution Copper mine. Photo by Anna Jeffrey for The Apache Messenger

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), who supported the Resolution Copper mine when he was in Congress, defends the inclusion of a land deal in the National Defense Authorization Act but doesn't address the merits of turning over sacred Apache sites to a private company:
Standing alone, such bills are not significant enough to take up floor time in the House or Senate, so they are usually bundled together to get bipartisan support and end up with a bill consequential enough to be considered either in its own right or as part of another bill.

The downside of combining bills is that members may support some parts and oppose others, but must vote either yes or no. But that is the case with most big bills--including appropriation bills and even the large NDAA itself. Moreover, Congress has frequently included lands bills in the NDAA. So, especially for members of Congress from the West, it may be necessary from time to time to combine lands bills and attach them to other legislation so pent up problems can be addressed.

Was the combination of the bills a parliamentary maneuver? Yes, of sorts, but hardly unprecedented. Was it done too quickly? Not really--the effort to do it was only seriously undertaken in the last few months, but it was not a secret and most provisions of the lands bills have been around for years. Are there things to object to in the bill? You bet.

Get the Story:
Jon Kyl: Pass the Land Swap, Stop Shafting Miners (Town Hall 12/10)

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