WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE, NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL W3R, NEWSLETTER NO. 58

September 11, 2007

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian,

Our goal is the creation and stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.

Summary:
This W3R National Historic Trail will pass with a unanimous vote from both houses of Congress just as it did when the study legislation passed in the year 2000 — provided it gets to both floors of Congress. Therefore we just need to get the bill out of the committees. The Senate has already reported it favorably out of committee so that means we now just have to get it reported favorably out of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. They apparently have done nothing constructive with the bill since March 5, 2007.

We are at a Critical Juncture
You all did well and provided the necessary public support for the National Park Service’s W3R National Historic Trail report. Washington is alive and well in the minds of all the supporters of the bill and the proposal is such a bargain that our frugal forefathers would be proud of it. The NPS with our state, local, and private support proposes to create and manage the trail for $300,000 to $400,000 federal dollars per year.

The Senate bill, S 686, went to committee for hearings and passed with flying colors. Again, thanks to many of you who gave your time and especially those who went to the hearings and testified. Three Presidential candidates are cosponsors of the Senate Bill that was introduced again by Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman.

But the House bill HR 1286 was first referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources (3/1/2007) and then buried in the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on 3/5/2007. I investigated last week and I found no evidence of any past House subcommittee hearings or action planned for our W3R bill. Their calendar looks like they may close shop in a few weeks without a single scheduled meeting on HR 1286!

An optimist, or perhaps a cynic, under normal circumstances might say that a bill such as the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail is most likely to pass in an election year when motherhood, apple pie, and national heritage are most in political demand. That would normally be an even numbered year like next year… not this year. But the credit crunch, our fiscal deficits, our balance of trade, and our aging infrastructure of bridges and levees are just beginning to compete with and threaten the creation of any heritage infrastructure like the W3R. Therefore we cannot blindly expect to be able to pass the W3R National Historic Trail next year — or the next — if we fail this year. Evidence is beginning to show that this year is the best chance we may ever have for the passage of the W3R bills. But HR 1286 is now stalled in subcommittee, and without a favorable report out of the House subcommittee the W3RNHT will not come up for a vote this year.

We Must Hang Together Now or We Will Hang Separately

Failure this year is no option. Each of us has put his or her name and organization on the line. Each of us will lose credibility and influence if we fail. But most of all we will have failed Generals Washington and Rochambeau whose alliance began to live again as a spark of celestial fire in the minds of Americans for these past seven years. First and foremost if we fail this year we let down our forefathers who continue to fight for our democratic way of life only because we continue to allow them to live in our national minds and thoughts, and through our actions.

Failure is no option because it would undermine all those in the Senate and the House who took up our cause and cosponsored the two bills needed to create the W3RNHT. We will show our bill’s champions what weak allies we are and how little they can count on us. When they run for re-election their opponents will blame our congressional champions for this failure and will point out our champions’ poor records for getting bills passed.

Failure is no option because the DAR, SAR, Society of the Cincinnati, and all our other organizations interested in preserving the ideas of our forefathers will be seen as ineffectual and unworthy of consideration compared with bridges to nowhere.

Congress will recess in six weeks and we must all act to bring the W3RNHT bills to a unanimous approval by both houses ASAP. Failure is no option.

Madam Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
In Newsletter 57 I wrote about how Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi was given a letter when she visited Connecticut and she took it back to Washington indicating her support of HR 1286. Who could be a better champion for the bill right now? Who could ask the difficult questions needed to wrestle HR 1286 from the hands of the pork dealers? Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be contacted at:
http://www.speaker.gov/contact

Why don’t you and you organization request that the House free hostage bill HR 1286 now! This is what I wrote:

Dear Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
I am the Bolton Town Historian who was asked to compose a letter that you were given by many of your supporters.

On April 20, 2000, Madam Speaker, you met with dozens of Connecticut supporters in Hartford who signed the following letter that we drafted in Bolton and they asked for your support of the W3R National Historic Trail. Three Presidential candidates cosponsored the Senate version of the bill.

“We the undersigned support the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail proposal that the National Park Service has recently reported to the nation. The Route is 600 miles of history, winding from Newport, RI, to Yorktown, VA. In our opinion it is worthy of designation as a National Historic Trail. Let us celebrate the unprecedented Franco-American alliance and the superhuman efforts of Generals George Washington and Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau to preserve that alliance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Let us create a National Historic Trail along whose course we can pause and remember these heroes and their journey through colonial America to its culmination at Yorktown. We support these bills before the 110th Congress; H.R.1286 and S. 686, Bills to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historical Trail.”

Madam Speaker, you indicated your support and took the letter back to Washington with you. It would seem that you could get H.R.1286 resurrected from the subcommittee and up for a vote. The senate subcommittee heard testimony and released the bill with their support. Now the House has to release it for a vote.

It appears there are some in the House who want to tie over seventy other house bills together in order to pass their pork bills. They want the W3R National Trail in their package or they indicate they may not support it. General Washington obviously would not have liked his name used that way so perhaps it would be better to pass this bill without the pork dealers’ votes. Please request a decisive vote of the House on the W3R National Historic Trail. Sincerely, Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands can be contacted
Tel:(202) 226-7736 Fax: (202) 226-2301
http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=58

“The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is under the leadership of Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). Through hearings and legislation, the Subcommittee ensures balanced common sense management of parks, forests, public lands, and the natural and cultural resources that can be found there. In particular, the Subcommittee relies on public input, providing citizens an opportunity to shape the future of the resources they own. Their calendar indicates they have not had nor have scheduled any meeting on HR 1286. This is the only committee that holds the W3RNHT hostage by the throat.

Please take the opportunity to ask them for their support. After all they do say, “In particular, the Subcommittee relies on public input, providing citizens an opportunity to shape the future of the resources they own.”

The preservation of this W3R cultural heritage will result in the greening of a corridor through nine states.  Ask them when the committee plans to take action. Mention the many august Senators and Representatives who support the bill including three presidential candidates. We don’t have much time left.

History of the W3R Bills
We need to contact the Speaker of the House, the sponsors of the bills, and the individual members of the House Committee on Natural Resources and especially their subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

Senate Bill S 686
Title: A bill to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historical Trail.
Related Bill: H.R.1286

Latest Major Senate Action: 6/26/2007 Senate Bill S 686 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 226. Senate Reports: 110-96

Latest Major House Action: 3/5/2007. Bogged down in House Subcommittee for pork barrel dealing with about seventy two other bills. So far only two of the other bills are making headway.

Senate Bill S 686
Sponsor: Senator Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT]
COSPONSORS (8), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)
Sen Biden, Joseph R., Jr. [DE] – 2/26/2007 Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] – 2/26/2007
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] – 2/26/2007 Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] – 2/26/2007
Sen Reed, Jack [RI] – 2/26/2007 Sen Specter, Arlen [PA] – 2/26/2007
Sen Warner, John [VA] – 2/26/2007 Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 2/26/2007
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

ALL SENATE ACTIONS:
2/26/2007:
Sponsor introductory remarks on measure. (CR S2234-2235)
2/26/2007:
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
5/23/2007:
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably.
4/26/2007:
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks. Hearings held. With printed Hearing: S.Hrg. 110-88.
6/26/2007:
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Reported by Senator Bingaman without amendment. With written report No. 110-96.
6/26/2007:
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 226.

The Weak Link now is the House
H.R.1286
Title: To amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.
(introduced 3/1/2007) Cosponsors (16)
Latest Major Action: 3/5/2007 HR 1286, was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

Sponsor: Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22 COSPONSORS(16), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)

Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] – 4/16/2007 Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] – 6/27/2007
Rep Castle, Michael N. [DE] – 3/1/2007 Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] – 4/16/2007
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] – 6/27/2007 Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] – 8/3/2007
Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. [RI-1] – 7/25/2007 Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] – 3/1/2007
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] – 7/25/2007 Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 3/1/2007
Rep Murphy, Patrick J. [PA-8] – 3/20/2007 Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8] – 3/1/2007
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] – 6/27/2007 Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] – 3/1/2007
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] – 3/1/2007 Rep Snyder, Vic [AR-2] – 3/1/2007
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml

ALL ACTIONS:
3/1/2007:
Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources 3/5/2007: (over six months no action!)
Referred to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

Additional Information:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-686
http://www.w3r-us.org/home.htm

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=213&projectId=14264&documentID=17129

Priorities

#1 Ask Madam House Speaker to have HR 1286 favorably moved to the House floor. http://www.speaker.gov/contact

#2 Ask Chairman Raul Grijalva of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to favorably move HR 1286 to the House floor. Tel: (202) 226-7736 Fax: (202) 226-2301

#3 Ask your congressman to request that HR 1286 be favorably moved to the House floor. You can go tohttp://www.vote-smart.org/ and enter your ZIP Code in the left-hand column to find your House Representative’s contact information.