Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has ruled out holding a vote on any gun control bills, but they do have at least one other measure on their slate next week before they embark on a 7-week recess.
House Republicans will vote on a bill introduced by Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) that would exempt a large swath of federal land in the Western United States from the president's authority to designate the land as a national monument under the Antiquities Act.
Moreover, the bill would also revoke the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) authority to police these lands.
In southern Utah, for example, the president would not be able to respond to the requests of tribal nations that he protect the Bears Ears area, which is a hotbed of grave robbing, looting, and desecration of sacred sites. It would also prevent the president from protecting Gold Butte in Nevada, where Cliven Bundy illegally grazed his cows for decades, as a national monument.
Though Rep. Gosar argues that the bill prevents local voices from being ignored, in both of the above cases there is strong local support for these national monuments.
To be clear, this bill includes the land Cliven Bundy's militiamen stood on in 2014 during their confrontation with BLM agents. A significant number of those men have been arrested in recent months for both their participation in that event and, in some cases, their participation in the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
It does not seem like a stretch to me to say that congressional Republicans are encouraging and emboldening men who may follow in the footsteps of the Bundy clan, including the man who was recently arrested for attempting to bomb a BLM facility on the border between Utah and Arizona.
These men do not believe the Bureau of Land Management has any legitimate authority over the land and, evidently, neither do their representatives in Congress. What message does that send?
I'd be remiss not to add that states and local authorities do not have the money or resources to manage and police these lands without federal assistance.