October 24, 2000
S. 2873 - Washington County, Utah, Land Transfer Act
While the Administration favors purchasing most of the land at issue in S.
2873, the Administration opposes the bill because it would provide vastly
preferential treatment to one landowner, require costly and unnecessary
litigation, create adverse precedent, and require a land purchase under
terms that are not in the public interest.
(Sen. Bennett (R) Utah)
S. 2873, as reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
would compensate one land owner at a level that is unsupported by
appraisals and includes unjustified payments beyond the value of the land.
The bill would legislate the acquisition of additional land that is not in
the public interest and provide for acquisition of land that has been the
subject of litigation and has a possible cloud on the title. Moreover, the
bill would require the United States to take title immediately upon
enactment, without providing an adequate time frame to ensure clear title
or remove encumbrances, and otherwise protect the interests of the United
States. Finally, the bill would circumvent the normal court considerations
of a property owner's claims.
S. 2873 would increase direct spending, therefore, it is subject to the
pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
The bill does not contain provisions to offset the increased direct
spending. Therefore, if the bill were enacted, its net budget cost could
contribute to a sequester of mandatory programs. OMB's preliminary scoring
estimate is that it would increase direct spending by about $35 million to
$80 million. Final scoring of this legislation may deviate from this