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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

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise, again today in support of this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, while it's understandable that, during this shutdown, some services would be limited in some parks and visitor centers, I believe this administration is going out of its way to take unreasonable and unnecessary steps to block public access to parks and monuments.

There is absolutely no reason why open-air parks and monuments here in Washington, D.C., should be barricaded off. These are places without doors, gates or fences where people are allowed 24/7, 365-day access to these memorials. Why are they closed now?

Furthermore, memorials that weren't closed during the last government shutdown in 1996 have been barricaded today. This administration is choosing to do this. It wants the effect of this government shutdown to be as painful as possible.

And the worst example of this is how the Obama administration erected steel barricades to keep our World War II veterans out of the memorial. These men are national heroes who flew here from across the country. The Park Service knew that they were coming. The veterans didn't deserve to be greeted by armed National Park Police at the entrance.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't cost the Federal Government a single penny to let these veterans walk around this outdoor, open-air structure. But ironically, the Federal Government is spending money to proactively keep them out. It may very well be costing more money to keep these visitors out than it would to simply let them in.

To add further insult to injury, the Obama administration isn't even applying this policy consistently. While highly visible monuments are barricaded off, others remain open. The Obama administration is selectively choosing which memorials to keep open and which to close, further proof, in my mind, that they're just playing politics.

So this bill today would end these type of political games.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. SIMPSON. I yield an additional 15 seconds to the gentleman.

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I want to say that, as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee that has jurisdiction on our national parks, we have started investigations into why this administration did these precise actions.


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