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Yellowstone Rebuilding Boardwalk Project
Yellowstone National Park, Montana

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey everybody.  Thanks for coming out.  It’s really inspiring to be here, back at Yellowstone.  My family came here, we think about 15 years ago, when all of our children were little.  We spent an entire week here at Yellowstone, but we wish we could again, don’t we?

MRS. PENCE:  Yeah.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  It’s just incredibly inspiring and I’m proud to be part of an administration, proud to serve with a President who is committed to conserving and preserving and improving these national treasures like Yellowstone and all of our great national parks.

And I really do want to commend all the great men and women who serve out here in the National Park Service, the job they do.  They’re fantastic.

And we’re very excited.  We do have — as the Secretary pointed out — we do have backlog in maintenance in hundreds of millions of dollars.  But our administration has proposed a new fund that would capture 50 percent of all the revenues coming off of leases on public lands, and investing those back in our national parks and in our national treasures.  We’re getting broad, bipartisan support for it and we’re going to continue to carry that message back to Washington, D.C.

And hopefully, with the Secretary’s hard work and the President’s efforts and the support of people in both parties, we’ll get that bill to the President’s desk, and we’ll have even more resources to clear that backlog and make sure that Yellowstone and all of our national parks are pristine and accessible for millions of Americans for generations to come.

So thank you all.

Q    (Inaudible) the President’s 2020 budget cut funding for the national parks?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Our 2020 budget — I discussed in my remarks today — and we believe that the combination of investments that we’re making is exactly the right level.  But the historic investment that we will be making in maintenance by literally creating a funding stream for maintenance from our public leases, we believe, will more than meet the maintenance obligations of our national parks.

And — but we’ll be working with members of both parties, working closely with the Secretary of the Interior, and making sure that our parks have what they need to remain as beautiful and as accessible as they are today.

Q    What is the President’s position on state-controlled parks, as opposed to federally-controlled parks?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, I will tell you, as a former governor — proud that the state of Indiana celebrated the 100th anniversary of our park system not too long ago, as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park system a little bit before that — I think we have great respect for the stewardship of our states and the job that they do with our state parks.

And partnering with our states to make sure that we do our part to preserve our national parks, even while we make it more possible for states to make those beautiful state parks, like back in my home state of Indiana, accessible and usable.

You know, the American people love the summertime to get out to our national parks.  And I was trying to add up all the national parks that we got to, Karen.  That we’ve — we went to  Yosemite and Grand Canyon and here to Yellowstone.  And here really, at the beginning of the summer, it’s a real joy for us to have the opportunity, even for a day, to come and remind people across this country what great treasures we have in our national parks, and tell every American it’s time to load up the family and head to the nearest national park near you.

Q    Is there anything new in this proposal — 50 percent land-funding proposal — that’s different than what was announced in March or voted on in December?


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BERNHARDT:  It is what we proposed in the budget.  And I think we have a great traction, broad bipartisan support in the Senate, very strong support in the House.  And it is, you know, a dedicated, mandatory funding stream, which is something that’s very, very significant.


Q    Will this funding stream include national monuments and preserves that are administered by the National Park Service?

SECRETARY BERNHARDT:  So it would work with our maintenance backlog — so if things are identified as deferred maintenance in those areas; and also, our Indian schools.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Great.  Thank you all very much.  Thanks for coming out.  Great to see you.