Two Republican congressman recently attacked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) non-violent confrontation with armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay over $1 million grazing fees for more than 20 years.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) slammed armed BLM agents, whom Bundy's defenders pointed sniper rifles at, noted RawStory.com (video below).
“I have observed more and more the level of militarization occurring within many federal agencies, and I mean almost every federal agency,” stated Rep. Stewart, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I’m not sure having these teams scattered across dozens of agencies is the most efficient use of resources. It’s heavy-handed and intimidating to the American people.”
Back in April, Rep. Stewart said on the House floor that he wanted to disarm the BLM, IRS and other government agencies, noted The Salt Lake Tribune.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) claimed the federal violations by Bundy should not be handled by federal authorities, but instead by the county sheriff (who doesn't have jurisdiction over federal grazing rights.)
“Whether Bundy was right or wrong, was the BLM’s response reasonable? Anyone watching that unfolding fiasco can answer it was completely insane,” stated Rep. McClintock.
“Local law enforcement knew the circumstances, knew the people involved and would exercise much better judgment nine times out of 10,” added Rep. McClintock. “So I ask once again, why are we arming land managers?”
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said the BLM was not invited by Republicans to testify on their own behalf.
“We saw some isolated pictures of heavy-handed law enforcement, but there were also very graphic pictures of militia folks supporting Bundy on the highway, pointing weapons at U.S. marshals,” stated Rep. Grijalva.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, BLM spokesman Jeff Krauss said in a statement:
The bureau disagrees with the many vague and inaccurate claims that were made at today’s hearing regarding the BLM’s collaboration with local entities Cooperation with all stakeholders is critical to carrying out the BLM’s mission and finding common ground in balancing the many uses of the public lands.