President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill funding maintenance in America’s National Parks and Monuments.
“After decades of abandonment and neglect we are once again taking care of America’s historic sites, lush forests, towering mountains, windswept prairies, and precious wetlands and wildlife,” Trump said.
The bill allocates up to $9.5 billion in federal spending to tackle maintenance backlogs in the national parks and assigns $900 million a year to the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Trump said the legislation was the largest investment in America’s national parks since the Theodore Roosevelt administration.
“The legislation I’m signing today builds on my administration’s unwavering commitment to conserving the grandeur and splendor of God’s creation,” Trump said.
Senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump praised the bipartisan effort to pass the legislation, insisting former president Theodore Roosevelt would be proud of the bill.
“The natural beauty and majesty of our parks and public lands are more valuable now than ever, especially during the current pandemic when they offer respite for so many families and the ability to be outside safely,” she said.
Vice President Mike Pence and other Republican Senators in Mountain West states also spoke at the event, including Sen. Corey Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Steve Gaines (R-MT).
“We would not be here without your vision for the Great American Outdoors Act,” Pence said to Gardner and Gaines, both up for re-election in 2020.
The president noted that he would continue to defend America’s national monuments, including from violent rioters vandalizing federal monuments.
“Anyone who defaces our historic statues and monuments, under my order these criminals face ten years in jail,” Trump said, recalling an executive order he signed in June. “They were knocking them down with impunity.”
He said that after he signed an order, things immediately quieted down.
“Once I signed that, I haven’t seen anything happen,” Trump noted, adding, “It’s strange how that all works.”