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National Park Service Operations, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, and United State Holocaust Memorial Museum Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this legislation to fund our national parks. Nobody here wanted our government to shut down, but one of the consequences is that millions of Americans have been literally barricaded from entering our parks, memorials, and monuments. While it's understandable that some services would be limited in some parks, it's unfortunate that this administration has taken the unnecessary steps of closing off additional monuments in public places.

Mr. Speaker, it appears to me the Obama administration is choosing to make this shutdown as painful as possible by unnecessarily preventing public access to open-air spaces and monuments. These are spaces that are normally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. These are places without doors or without gates. Yet the Obama administration is going out of their way to erect barricades and have people manning them in order to keep people out of these monuments. Mr. Speaker, that's flat-out wrong, and it is terribly wasteful.

Just today, World War II veterans, who bravely fought to defend and protect our country, encountered armed National Park Police and metal barricades when they tried to visit their memorial, the World War II memorial. Yet these veterans were undeterred. The shortsighted decisions by the Interior Department officials couldn't stop them from completing a visit to their memorial. I congratulate them for going in, as a matter of fact.

This targeted bill before us today would allow our national parks and landmarks to reopen to the public, welcoming back tourists and families to these public lands that are critically important to so many local economies.

Mr. Speaker, the House has acted multiple times, as has been said, to fund the government, but now it is time for the Senate to act. I support this legislation.

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