Anti-Hunting Representative Assumes Pivotal Committee Chairmanship in Congress

Sportsmen Dismayed by Overthrow of Congressman John Dingell

The United States Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) expresses its dismay today over the news that U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D- CA) toppled Representative John Dingell (D- MI) as Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Dingell has been a tireless champion of sportsmen issues for decades, while Rep. Waxman has a long history of supporting the causes of extremist animal rights and anti-firearm groups. Given the recent call by President-elect Barack Obama for a broad and bipartisan approach to governing, this action raises serious doubts in the eyes of sportsmen.

“Rep. Dingell understood and cared about sportsmen and their devotion to conservation,” said USSA Vice President of Government Affairs, Rob Sexton. “On the other hand, Rep. Waxman, an environmental activist, has consistently earned a 100 percent rating from the leading anti-hunting group in the country, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has sought to use the Endangered Species Act to stop hunting.”

Among Rep. Waxman’s anti-hunting votes are:

  • against allowing hunting, fishing, and trapping in the East Mojave Scenic Area;
  • against the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1996 that enshrined hunting, fishing, and trapping as a priority use of wildlife refuges;
  • for banning the importation of polar bear trophies and resulting in a loss of conservation funding;

Beyond his strong support of anti-hunting legislation, Rep. Waxman has also been a consistent opponent of Second Amendment rights. According to Sexton, “He has voted for nearly all anti-firearm bills in Congress going back to the so-called ‘Assault Weapon Ban’ and the ‘Brady Bill.’ Both of those bills were punitive and designed to prohibit law abiding citizens from engaging in their constitutional rights.”

Sportsmen play a major role in the U.S. economy through their purchases of hunting, fishing, and trapping equipment. They also play the decisive role in maintaining ongoing conservation efforts through federal and state taxes on that equipment. “With the economy facing its greatest challenge in over a generation, now is not the time to embrace the radical agenda of groups like HSUS and choke off one of its most vibrant sectors. The USSA hopes that Rep. Waxman will show a greater appreciation for this fact as he assumes his new position than he has in the past,” concluded Sexton.

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