This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch said Wednesday that Congress should still push limits on a president's unilateral ability to name national monuments even as the Senate voted down an amendment that would have urged the administration to consult local and state officials before such actions.
The Senate rejected a measure that would have offered the "sense of Congress" that local officials, states and governors should approve of any new national monuments, though the language would have had no force of law even had it passed.
The amendment, which sponsors attempted to add to a bill approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, failed to gain the 60 votes needed, with 50 senators agreeing to the measure and 47 opposing it. Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee, both R-Utah, voted for the language to be added to the Keystone bill.
Hatch said there was little chance to restrict the president's power under the Antiquities Act to name monuments with "the Democrats the way they are with this president" but that the effort should still be made.
"We have to let them know that this is upsetting to us," Hatch said.
The amendment's sponsor, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., argued before the vote that cutting out local and state officials was wrong when it directly impacts them.
"This amendment ensures the people affected most by these designations have a seat at the table and their voices are heard," he said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., disagreed.
"There's a reason why they call [them] national monuments, and that is because it's a national process and a national decision," Cantwell said.