On Wednesday, October 16th, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., will convene a joint hearing entitled, "As Difficult As Possible: The National Park Service's Implementation of the Government Shutdown."
The hearing will examine the National Park Service's decision to barricade open-air memorials on the National Mall, which are normally open to the public 24 hours a day, during the current lapse in appropriations. The decision prohibited access to veterans and visitors and is unprecedented in previous shutdowns.
"The National Park Service's decision to barricade the normally unattended open air memorials on the National Mall, including the World War II Memorial, is only one example of the many drastic and unprecedented steps the Park Service has taken during the current lapse in appropriations," said Chairman Issa. "Their actions suggest a pattern of decision making based on politics rather than prudence. During sequestration and the current government shutdown, Park Service officials reportedly instructed employees to make fiscal cuts both visible and painful. Caught in the crossfire are innocent Americans -- veterans and small business owners -- who have a right to expect that even during tough financial situations, government officials are still acting as trustworthy stewards of their tax dollars."
"Across the country, Americans are deliberately being denied access to open-air memorials and national parks -- places that are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," stated Chairman Hastings. "These are sites that were not closed by the Clinton Administration during the last government shutdown. However, the Obama Administration appears determined to make their shutdown as difficult and painful as possible. They are forcing private businesses to close and are selectively choosing which high-profile sites to close off and which to keep open. One park ranger even said that they were directed to "make life as difficult for people as we can.' This is shameful and wrong and we intend to hold the Obama Administration accountable for their actions."