Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings convened a joint hearing entitled, “As Difficult As Possible: The National Park Service’s Implementation of the Government Shutdown.”
The hearing examined 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 government shut down.
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.”
Trey Gowdy took a blow torch to NPS Director Jarvis for closing open memorials and monuments to veterans while leaving parks open for pot smoking occupiers.
Jarvis admitted that he discussed closing the open-air monuments and memorials with the White House, as well as the secretary of the Interior Department:
After the hearing, Chairman Issa told Politico, Jarvis should resign.
The head of the National Park Service should step down over his handling of the government shutdown, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa told POLITICO on Wednesday.
“Three strikes and you should be out,” Issa (R-Calif.) said after a five-hour hearing in which he and other Republicans lambasted park service Director Jonathan Jarvis for closing monuments on the National Mall, as well as the agency’s earlier handling of the sequester and its decision to let Occupy Wall Street protesters camp out on federal land. “He blew it on sequestration. He blew it on Occupy, and now he admits he doesn’t even think it was his responsibility to plan to mitigate [the shutdown’s harm].” Asked if he thinks Jarvis should resign, Issa said: “Yes, I believe he should resign. But the better term probably is I think he should retire because he no longer serves the public in their interest.”
Of course, he was only following orders. The fish rots from the head down.
Issa to Jarvis: “The promises you make have no value”:
Here is the full hearing: