White House Threatens Veto of Bill Protecting Red River Landowners

BLM Land Grab
File Photo: Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

The White House announced it will recommend the president veto the bill designed to protect the private property rights of Texas landowners in what has become known as the “Red River Land Grab.” A bill to protect these property owners is headed to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote on Wednesday afternoon.

The Red River Private Property Protection Act (H.R. 2130), authored by Representative Mac Thornberry, is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the House at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Julia Slingsby, press secretary for the House Committee on Natural Resources. Committee Chairman Rob Bishop led the passage of this bill in committee and fought to make it a priority for the House.

“The ‘Red River Private Property Protection Act,’ which the Committee on Natural Resources approved in September, stops the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) unwanted, unwarranted attempt to seize thousands of acres of land from American citizens in Texas and Oklahoma who have owned and paid taxes on the land for decades,” Bishop said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “The right to private property is a fundamental pillar of a free and prosperous United States and the House of Representatives is right to make this legislation, supported by both Texas and Oklahoma, a priority.”

On Tuesday, the White House announced it would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the bill if it made it to his desk. “If the President were presented with H.R. 2130, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” White House official wrote in a memo obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Executive Office of the President.

“It’s not surprising that this President would threaten to veto a bill meant to protect private property rights,” Representative Thornberry told Breitbart Texas in response to an inquiry. “These landowners and all property owners deserve to be protected from this sort of government overreach.”

On the bill’s vote that is scheduled to happen later on Wednesday, Thornberry told Breitbart Texas, “This bill is so important for the landowners along the Red River and also for property owners everywhere who deserve to know that the federal government cannot come in and take away what they own.”

Breitbart Texas reached out to Bureau of Land Management public affairs specialist Paul McGuire for the bureau’s reaction to the upcoming vote. McGuire said that while they do not normally comment on pending legislation, “We continue to work with Congressional leaders and others to find ways to resolve the complex land tenure issues along the Red River and to arrive at appropriate management alternatives.”

Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on the BLM’s attempt to seize nearly 90,000 acres of what Texans believe is private property owned by Texas landowners. In November, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined in a lawsuit pending in the courts on the issue. Earlier this month, Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush also joined in the lawsuit, WFAA reported. Other officials from Texas including Governor Greg Abbott, U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and State Senator Craig Estes have all expressed their support of the landowners in this battle. During their time in office, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson also engaged in the battle with the BLM.

In October, Governor Abbott said “the BLM should demonstrate that the federal government still respects private property rights and end this unconscionable land grab.”

In September, Breitbart Texas reported on a small victory in this on-going battle with the federal government. Landowner Tommy Henderson was finally able to get back the more than 100 acres the government had taken from him and his family. “It has been a long time coming,” Henderson told Breitbart Texas in a phone conversation on in September. “The BLM brought me the patent and said this was the right thing to do, finally.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.



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