With the government shutdown because of Congress' failure to pass a budget, many federal parks and monuments are closed. However, this closure was also applied to federal areas that are always open air and walkable. No buildings to go into, no staff on site. Yesterday problems arose at the WWII memorial when veterans of that war arrived on Honor Flights to visit. Someone had given the order to put up gates and temporary fences surrounding that open air place in order to keep people out. This is one of those places that are walked around similar to the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Mall.
So..a number of elderly WWII vets helped eventually by some members of Congress including Mo senator Claire McCaskill and other people pulled down those temporary barriers and went in. Today there is a sign at this site:
It says, Because of the federal government shutdown, this National Park Service area is closed, except for 1st Amendment activities.
How about that? The first amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
This memorial is all outside, walkable from sidewalks and streets. This would be like saying the Arch is closed, no one will be able to go up in it, but you also cannot walk along the arch grounds and the river.
Here's my mom at the the WWII memorial in 2006.
My dad had died 6 months previous to this so never got to see it, but my mom who was a nurses aid in a veterans hospital during that war did have the opportunity.
The Continuing Resolution passed by the senate last week and handed over to the House contains 20 billion dollars more in spending than the spending caps agreed upon by the nonpartisan Budget Control Act. Included in this CR are unnecessary items such as these:
Thirty five wine projects, such as funding for 10 grants to support wine tasting including wine trail smartphone apps to help “navigate to the next winery.”
Four Christmas tree initiatives, including support to promote Virginia Christmas trees, to shear Michigan Christmas trees, and training seminars on best practices for exporting Christmas trees
The “USA Pear Road Show” to China, a federally funded trip to Asia to advertise American pears.
Social media for apples
Radio advertisements about New Jersey blueberries
Two promotional campaigns to promote strawberries
Funding for the Organizing Maple Weekend in Massachusetts which includes a recipe contest
Funding for a YouTube video promoting proper handling of watermelon (Georgia Watermelon Association)
Funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the development of “Snooki,” a robot bird that impersonates a female sage grouse to examine the importance of courtship tactics of males.
Funding for an NSF grant that studies Americans’ attitudes towards the U.S. Senate filibuster
NSF grant to SiteJabber.com, a new website to rate the trustworthiness of other websites
NSF grant funding to EcoATM, a company commercializing an “ATM” to give out cash in exchange for old cell phones and other electronics
NSF grant paying for participants’ expenses to attend an annual snowmobile competition in Michigan through 2015
NSF grant paying for meditation and self-reflection for math, science, and engineering majors
Four-year NSF grant that funds displays along the six Indianapolis waterways, used to display paintings about Indianapolis’s water system.
The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences is funding “Puppets Take Long Island,” a puppet festival at a Long Island New York children’s museum.
This shutdown talk is nothing new, it seems like we've had this debate and angst every year for at least 5 years. Will it happen this time, I don't know, but it wouldn't even be an issue if Congress and especially the senate would have passed a budget. The senate hasn't even brought a budget to the floor for at least 4 years.
Here's a list of the other years when a shutdown occurred and how long each lasted.