Members of the Farm Board Negotiating Committee have continued to meet with and reach out to Virginia Senators Kaine and Warner to introduce a Senate companion bill to HR 6678 and ensure the passage of both bills. Both Senators, along with Democrats on both sides of the Hill (including Congressman Beyer) have declined to support HR 6678. So far, support for HR 6678 is confined to House Republicans and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has cosponsored HR 6678.
We have been told that the reason for this partisan divide on the issue of Saving the Farm is that Senate and House Democrats are opposed to “privatization” of federal lands and that HR 6678 would set a bad precedent for other Park Service facilities. The error of this view has been communicated to all concerned many times, to no avail. The Farm has been unique among all Park Service facilities as a self-supporting, privately operated, award winning and beloved living history museum that has operated as such for 37 years and does not cost the taxpayers a dime.
The Park Service’s position, communicated to us through Senators and Congressmen, is “our land, our rules.” What the Park Service and others have failed to grasp, despite our best efforts to show them, is that the Farm cannot operate under the rules proposed by the Park Service. “Our land, our rules” means no Farm. All we have ever asked is to continue to operate as we have, successfully, for the last 37 years.
Time has grown short, but the Farm is not dead until the 115th Congress adjourns without passing HR 6678. Reach out again to every politician you know, but especially to every Senator you know and urge them to introduce and pass HR 6678.