From the Congressional Record, one day after Representative David McKinley voted against the Great American Outdoors Act:
Mr. McKINLEY. Madam Speaker, Yesterday, I mistakenly voted against the Great American Outdoors Act As cosponsor of the House companion to this bill, I support permanent, full funding for the Land and Conservation Fund and funding for deferred maintenance in the National Parks System. This important piece of legislation would protect and ensure safe access to important locations in West Virginia like the Monongahela National Forest or the New River Gorge National River. The continued operation of locations like these would further generate $9 billion annually in consumer spending and support 91,000 jobs across West Virginia.
Perhaps, this same-day article in the Highland Outdoors (“West Virginia’s outdoor magazine”) or a similar one elsewhere prompted his turnaround:
CONGRESS PASSES GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT
On the passage of the legislation:
GAOA establishes a fund to support maintenance projects on federal public lands and ensures permanent, dedicated funding of the beloved Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill, sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) also received overwhelming support in the Senate on July 17 with a vote of 73 to 25. U.S. House Rep. Miller (R-WV) of West Virginia’s third district that includes the iconic New and Gauley rivers joined Sen. Manchin in supporting the bill. U.S. House Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Alex Mooney (R-WV), representing the two northern districts of the state, voted in opposition.
Back to McKinley’s correction: the congressman provides no reason for why he “mistakenly” voted “no.” Did he confuse this bill with the one he co-sponsored? I doubt it -- he would have obviously voted “yes” on that bill. Was his name called too early in the process so as not to allow him time to reflect (or see how other Republicans were voting)? No, he would have voted midway through the process and by then, many his fellow Republicans had voted for the act. Finally, did he simply get confused? Hopefully not – this was a very straightforward piece of legislation. My thought is that McKinley thought that his “no” vote would go unnoticed or confused with the legislation he co-sponsored. When it didn’t, it was time for damage control.
McKinley gets more credit where it isn’t due
As I noted previously, McKinley’s Facebook page suggested that he supported this act and yes, some of the commenters praised him for it. They were not the only ones deceived by our congressman: Becky Sullivan, who is executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitor Bureau, also gave him credit in an article, “Investing in the mountains,” by Steve Keenan in today’s Beckley Register-Herald about the Great American Outdoors Act:
“We want to give our sincere thanks to Rep. (Carol) Miller and Rep. (David) McKinley for their support of the Great American Outdoors Act,” Sullivan said in the release. “Our local economy depends on the tourism dollars that our park sites generate.”
I'd be curious as to how she learned that McKinley supported the legislation.