The Cabin Fee Act was favorably reviewed by Senate Committee: On Thursday, Nov. 20th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a public hearing on S. 1341, the Cabin Fee Act of 2013 (CFA). Very positive, encouraging and clearly bi-partisan comments were made by four Senators speaking in support of the CFA. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and ranking Republican on the Subcommittee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and chairman of the full ENR Committee, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) all spoke in support of the bill. It should be noted as very significant that the Chairmen of the major committees of jurisdiction in both the House, Doc Hastings (R-WA), and the Senate, Ron Wyden (D-OR), are now on record in strong support of the Cabin Fee Act. Chairman Wyden said explicitly that he wants the bill to move forward. That will count for a lot as we press to get this done by years’ end. The Forest Service Deputy Chief, Leslie Weldon, also testified and stated openly that “the USDA Forest Service supports the bill.” This is the first time the Forest Service has spoken so clearly in favor of the CFA. We are all very encouraged because this is a major step forward towards passage of the bill. No one opposed the bill or expressed any criticism. The next step will be a full Energy & Natural Resources Committee “markup” in December. We are pressing for a prompt markup and are hopeful the committee will approve the bill as introduced, without any changes. Rest assured we will be closely monitoring any possible changes to the review provision or the transfer fee provision. Finally, it is critical that S. 1341 go to markup as soon as possible. Since we still must pass the review of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a markup and committee approval will be the quickest way to get a CBO revenue evaluation.With a favorable CBO ruling, it is on to a Senate floor vote and possible passage in the House. Though time is rapidly passing, NFH and the Cabin Coalition 2 continue efforts to get this done this year. Stay engaged and be ready to do your part, too. Additional comments from NFH Executive Director, Ernie Atencio and links to both the Forest Service and the Cabin Coalition 2 written testimony can be found on the NFH website. http://www.nationalforesthomeowners.org/. Pete BaileyC2 Steering Committee.
November 22, 2013