City Desk

National Park Service Director to Congress: Seriously, the Parks Are Closed

JonathanJarvis

Republicans put the Director of the National Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis, under fire Wednesday morning, subpoenaing him to testify in front of Congress to investigate, in part, why open-air parks like the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial are shuttered.

Jarvis' explanation: Well, there's a government shutdown, and the NPS is funded by the government.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Natural Resources Committee held the joint hearing. Chairman of the Oversight Committee Darrell Issa and other GOP members criticized the agency, calling some of NPS' actions "disgusting and despicable" and suggested that turning away people from high profile memorials was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

(House Republicans have been showing up at the World War II Memorial for some patriotic photo-ops with veterans.)

"Why were Americans from the finest generation turned away and told they could not visit [the World War II Memorial]?" Issa asked.
Democrats on the committees, in turn, fired at Republicans for causing the shutdown, and thus, closing the parks.
Jarvis says the shutdown did not affect First Amendment activities at the National Mall, Memorial Parks, and Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, and NPS retained enough staff to permit these activities without " risk to life or property."

But, he said, on a typical day there are 300 National Mall and Memorial Park employees on duty, and during the shutdown, all but a dozen of these employees have been furloughed.

"Even though the U.S. Park Police commissioned officers have been exempted from the furlough, given the limited staff resources during the shutdown, prudent and practical steps were taken to secure life and property at these national icons where security has become increasingly complex in a post-9/11 world.

We know that visits of America’s World War II veterans to the memorial are pilgrimages that many of them will only make once. Throughout the shutdown, we have worked diligently to try and ensure that no Honor Flight group, veteran, or their family has been turned away from visiting the veterans’ memorials. Likewise, those also engaging in First Amendment activities are welcome to visit the war memorials."

Read his full prepared remarks here.

 

Screenshot from the Library of Congress' streaming of the hearing

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  • Ward-8

    Face it, these TPublican are insane, they are in such denial they are looking for anyone to blame except themselves who caused this debacle. They still can't face the fact they are not fooling anyone except their racist and low information ignorant base.

  • Typical DC BS

    Sorry, the closing of OPEN AIR MONUMENTS is 100% Obumbler's fault. And too bad most people can't understand that shutting the government down is necessary to get the pinhead Dumocrats to realize we dont' want more taxes and we CAN'T borrow 36 cents for every dollar we spend.

    Too bad the low-intelligence folks can't understand simple economics. When you have a perfect example of liberal idiocy in action like Detroit, and insist on more of the same stupidity, you get pushback.

  • name

    Although i think the Republicans are full of morons, I'm amazed at the cognitive dissonance the, supposedly, more educated and intelligent Democrats practice when it comes to this NPS and DC Budget rights BS.

    Obama is shutting down the parks to hurt "Americans" but it's really just hurting the DC economy. On top of that Reid and the President refuse to exempt DC from this budget BS.

    Seriously, Obama should be enemy #1 for DC residents after negotiating away reproductive spending rights and now refusing to exempt city government from this fight. DC Democrats have no business complaining about our 'rights' when they won't stand up to their own party.

  • Bob

    Although i think the Republicans are full of morons, I'm amazed at the cognitive dissonance the, supposedly, more educated and intelligent Democrats practice when it comes to this NPS and DC Budget rights BS.

    Obama is shutting down the parks to hurt "Americans" but it's really just hurting the DC economy. On top of that Reid and the President refuse to exempt DC from this budget BS.

    Seriously, Obama should be enemy #1 for DC residents after negotiating away reproductive spending rights and now refusing to exempt city government from this fight. DC Democrats have no business complaining about our 'rights' when they won't stand up to their own party.
    22

  • DCHawk

    11:03 - I get it, you don't like the law. But guess what, the "we" in your statement isn't the majority. The majority of people elected their representatives knowing full well how they would vote on the law in question. The law passed and survived constitutional review. You're in the minority, you lost, and now you're throwing a temper tantrum that is costing people their jobs. Grow up and learn to be a part of a democracy.

  • General Logan

    Isn't this Issa dude Vinnie and Holmly-Norton's big ally? These repugantcans ccertainly like to beat up on the Park Service. I remember back in the day when Schrub, Rummy, and Cheney were lying us into two wars while conspiring with a foreign national, remember Ahmed Chalabi, (some might call that treason or would have until it became clear it was "Obama's fault") they fired the great patriot and known reasonable person who headed the Park Service. She committed the Schrub era cardinal sin of telling the truth, in this case about the monuments being virtually abandoned due to their shenanigans.

    Issa may want to consider while appropriating the phraseology of a pinhead looking to sell books that the debatable premise of a "finest" generation (not withstanding that the Nazis were of the same generation) that the generations that need to eat today should be of formost importance. We let them scar the Mall with that architectural, stalinist, Frankenstein after all.

    As someone who knows a thing or two about monuments and honoring veterans let me invite one and all to visit my circle. Technically a national park it is being tended by folks in the neighborhood busy using it to recreate, commune with each other, and perhaps to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who made it possible for the likes of Issa, Cruz, Holmes-Norton, Vinnie, et al to degrade our republic with their clown show

    We call it our community.It could be Obama's fault!

  • General Logan

    Yo dude, why was my comment not approved? There was nothing offensive, no bad language, what part did you not agree with?

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  • Corky

    These tea party people are literally nuts--or they think the rest of us are. These morons shut down the government and then have the nerve to grandstand in front of the agency directors who followed the law and shut down their agencies!! These directors could literally be prosecuted for violating their budgetary authority if they failed to shut down their agencies and furlough staff. Maybe this nonsens works out in fly over states, but most people in DC understant that Diretor of the NPS was doing his job when he shut down the memorials. Maybe Congress should consider doing its job.

  • name

    It's clear that no one took their constitutional history.

    If you want to defund something, you don't vote for the funding. That's how the separation of powers works. That's how the Democrats ended the Vietnam war. The fact that the president wants to fund everything at once is nice, and has tradition, but it's not sacrosanct. The question of the presidential line-item-veto was the flipside of piecemeal funding authorization.

    Short memories, or more likely bad education.

    It's amazing how effective the Democratic machine is at putting out BS.

  • Corky

    Name--you clearly took no history at all, much less, constitutional history, because you are just making up nonsense. If you want to defund something, you submit a bill defund THAT SOMETHING. You don't shut the entire government down to defund one program. Go back to school.

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