NPS is Defending Shutdown Park Closures

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October 17, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

With the National Park Service under fire from Republicans for how it's gone about shuttering parks and monuments it operates during the 16-day-old government shutdown, Democratic lawmakers and the director of the NPS on Wednesday fiercely defended the agency's actions.

Democrats blasted Republican Reps. Darrell Issa, of California, and Doc Hastings, of Washington, for calling a joint hearing on the issue while the U.S. government is just hours away from hitting the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced a deal to end the shutdown and avert a government default. But House and Senate leaders were still negotiating how to maneuver the package through both chambers and get it to President Obama's desk as soon as possible.

Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, who was among the the Democrats to say they were flabbergasted by the timing of hearing, called on Republican lawmakers to literally take a look in the mirror.

"If you want to spend your time here dissecting individual decisions about what monuments are open, which are closed, let me save you some time," said DeFazio, of Oregon, as he held up a mirror during Wednesday's hearing. "Our National Park System is surprisingly part of our government, which you shut down."

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