Democratic Congressman Laments Impact Of Budget Sequestration On National Parks

Just ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional kickoff to summer, a Democratic congressman has released a report pointing to how the budget sequestration has impacted the National Park System, citing reduced search-and-rescue capabilities in some parks to dirtier restrooms in others.

"Because of recent sequester cuts ... parks are closing or delaying the opening of roads, campgrounds and facilities, reducing their hours of operation and visitor services, and deferring or forgoing maintenance, all of which threatens to reduce the number of visitors who spend money in nearby communities," reads the report issued today by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. "Simply put, America’s best idea is under attack by America’s worst idea."

Park Service Director Jon Jarvis earlier this year warned of such reductions in services, saying the 5 percent across-the-board cut to the agency's budget would impact visitor services, shorten hours of operation, and possibly even close areas to the public.

The congressman's 31-page report offers capsules on how parks across the country have reduced services to absorb cuts mandated by the budget sequestration.

* At Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia, a $200,000 cut means "the park will not hire any seasonal workers and will not fill 11 vacant permanent positions, representing a 23 percent reduction in staff. The park expects additional volunteer help, but it already depends on the equivalent of 15 full-time employees (FTEs) in volunteers."

Additionally, the park that preserves Civil War battlefields has cut educational programming by 70 percent, the report notes, and the Jackson Shrine, a memorial to Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, is closed five days a week.

* At Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California, the loss of $1.3 million means 11 currently vacant permanent positions will remain unfilled, five fewer seasonal positions will be filled, restrooms will be cleaned less frequently, and Fort Point National Historic Site, a fort completed just before the Civil War to defend the San Francisco Bay, will be open six days a week during summer and just two days a week during the off-season.

* Grand Canyon National Park officials in Arizona had to cut $1.6 million from their budget, a loss of funding that means visitor center hours are being trimmed two hours per day, bathrooms are being cleaned just once a day instead of twice, and interpretive programs are being cut by a third on the South Rim and by half on the North Rim.

* The loss of more than $160,000 means Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah will have fewer rangers to conduct search-and-rescue operations.

* At Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, the loss of nearly $1 million has forced the closure of some campgrounds this summer, 10 other campgrounds and five horse camps are opening a month later than usual, and backcountry ranger patrols are being reduced.

* At Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts, the loss of $414,220 has forced park officials to defer cleaning, repair, and maintenance of four museum exhibits, the number of guided trolly tours are being reduced, and a theater program that employs 10 youth from the area's recent immigrant population has been canceled.

In compiling the report, the Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Committee interviewed superintendents or top deputies at 23 parks in the National Park System. In the report's narrative, the staff noted that "(P)ark superintendents interviewed for this report said they were directed to minimize visitor impacts to every extent possible in developing their sequester plans. However, the size of the sequester cuts and the staff reductions required to meet those cuts meant that some visitor impacts could not be avoided, especially following other cuts that parks have endured over the last several years."

"This finding refutes Republican accusations that the Obama administration made intentionally painful cuts at the national parks in order to build public opposition against the sequester," the narrative continues. "In fact, the parks profiled in this report show that closures, delayed openings, reduced visitor services, and other adverse impacts are the inevitable consequences of the budget cuts Republicans have forced."

In a press release accompanying the repor, Congressman Markey said that, “National parks are known as America’s best idea, but America’s best idea is now under attack by one of America’s worst ideas, the sequester."

"Republicans in Congress who forced these painful cuts to our national parks are looking for someone else to blame. It’s time they accept responsibility for their actions and immediately restore funding to our national parks and other vital job-creating programs by ending the sequester," he continued. "Members of Congress and past presidents of both political parties supported and nurtured our national parks for more than a century. The sequester is a betrayal of that commitment.”

Comments


"Republicans in Congress who forced these painful cuts to our national parks are looking for someone else to blame. It’s time they accept responsibility for their actions and immediately restore funding to our national parks and other vital job-creating programs by ending the sequester,"


Typical BS. The idea of sequestration came out of the Democratic White House. The Republicans offered to give Obama flexibility in deciding where the cuts would fall - he ran from that responsibility as fast as he could. Sequenstration passed with affirmative votes from both Republicans and Democrats. To claim "Republicans in Congress forced these painful cuts" is just an outright lie.

It's certainly a hot topic for discussion. Over at the Daily Beast, they say that while the White House came up with the proposal, if the 218 Republicans in the House of Representatives didn't vote for it, it would have remained no more than a proposal. (Supposedly no House Democrats voted for it).

In the end, I think an argument can be made that both parties are to blame for this. Had Congress acted responsibly and come up with 1) a sound fiscal approach to deal with the ever-growing debt and 2) a rational budget, or the White House had come up with one that Congress would approve (no easy task there), the sequester would have been unnecessary.

Now, about that debt ceiling....

You're misreading the quote. It doesn't say "Republicans in Congress forced these painful cuts."


In the end, I think an argument can be made that both parties are to blame for this. Had Congress acted responsibly and come up with 1) a sound fiscal approach to deal with the ever-growing debt and 2) a rational budget, or the White House had come up with one that Congress would approve (no easy task there), the sequester would have been unnecessary.


Amen


It doesn't say "Republicans in Congress forced these painful cuts.


It sure does (with a "who" added as I originally quoted).

The "who" changes the sentence. If you look at the restrictive clause and the rest of the sentence, Markey isn't talking about Congressional Republicans in general, nor is he making a claim as to who is to blame for the sequester. Markey is surely spinning as much as Boehner, but let's at least try to read the spin accurately.


If you look at the restrictive clause


That is hardly a restrictive clause. If he had said "Those Republicans who" then it would have been restrictive, but still a lie. No Republicans "forced" anything. They bent to the President's suggestion and voted along with the Democrats. The only thing restrictive in his statement is that he failed to given at least equal blame to the Democrats.

The House passed the Budget Control Act on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269–161. 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted for it, while 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against it.

The Senate passed the Act on August 2, 2011 by a vote of 74–26. 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against it.

So if you add it all up, a total of 202 Republicans and 140 Democrats in both houses voted for the act. 85 Republicans and 101 Democrats voted against it.

Now, the whole thing sounds a lot like a herd of Kindergarteners pointing fingers and shifting blame when the teacher catches them at something. (Nah, that's probably an insult to all Kindergarten children everywhere. . . . . )

The bill was the final chance in a series of proposals to resolve the 2011 United States debt-ceiling crisis, which featured bitter divisions between the parties and also pronounced splits within them. Earlier ideas included the Obama-Boehner $4 trillion "Grand Bargain",the House Republican Cut, Cap and Balance Act, and the McConnell-Reid "Plan B" fallback. All eventually failed to gain enough general political or specific Congressional support to move into law, as the midnight August 2, 2011, deadline for an unprecedented U.S. sovereign default drew nearer and nearer.

The solution came from White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, who, on July 12, 2011, proposed a compulsory trigger that would go into effect if another agreement was not made on tax increases and/or budget cuts equal to or greater than the debt ceiling increase by a future date.

Ultimately, the intent of the sequester was to secure the commitment of both sides to future negotiation by means of an enforcement mechanism that would be unpalatable to Republicans and Democrats alike. President Obama agreed to the plan. House Speaker John Boehner expressed reservations, but also agreed.

On July 26, 2011, White House Budget Director Jack Lew and White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the plan. Reid, like Boehner several days before, was initially opposed to the idea, but was eventually convinced to go along with it, with the understanding that the sequester was intended as an enforcement tool rather than a true budget proposal.

On the evening of July 31, 2011, Obama announced that the leaders of both parties in both chambers had reached an agreement that would reduce the deficit and avoid default. The same day, Speaker of the House John Boehner's office outlined the agreement for House Republicans. One key element in the deal being reached and the logjam being broken earlier that afternoon was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's ability to negotiate with his 25-year Senate colleague, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Biden had spent the most time bargaining with Congress on the debt question of anyone in the administration, and McConnell had viewed him as the one most trustworthy. [from Wikipedia]

The Budget Control Act is a fraud, not a budget. If Congress (and the president) would deal with any of the waste and abuse previously identified by the CBO, OMB, private think tanks, etc or any of the myriad of duplicitive programs that exist in the Federal budget, the sequestration would not have happened and the parks might have the budget they "need" to conduct their operations. Fiscal resources are limited. In the absence of a reasonable budget and the courage to support it, you get things like the (presidential proposal) of sequestration.....

Thank you Lee for further exposing the quoted statement as a lie.

Now, about that entitlement thing. Are you going to provide evidence I ever made such a request or will you admit you made it up and apologize?

Whose lie are you referring to? There are more than enough to go around. Actions speak much louder than words. Just as your actions demonstrate an attitude of entitlement. Words are not always needed. I'm sure other readers know exactly what I mean. Let them decide.


Whose lie are you referring to?


The lie of the orginal text I quoted in this thread of course.


Just as your actions demonstrate an attitude of entitlement.


OK you are starting your bob and weave - what "actions" of mine have demonstrated an attitude of entitlement?

"you are starting your bob and weave"

Yup. I've had a good teacher.


I've had a good teacher.


Saul?

To bad you can't man up and admit it was a total fabrication. Show us the words, show us the "actions" or apologize.

(Kurt - I know I am pushing the limits but someone should not be allowed to make personal accusations without backing them up)

Does anyone besides ecbuck know who or what he is? I certainly would not waste anytime responding to him and did not on another issue. We need another one like god, guns and religion which seem to go together. I was talking to god just the other day and he told me he really liked guns as do I.

Okay, will you show me where I claimed that you actually said you "request" or "demand" anything in your words. I've been very clear to refer to actions of many people who seem to feel entitled to do anything they wish, anywhere they wish, and anyhow they wish, usually without being charged anything for doing it. I was referring to actions and not words. No fabrication needed. So now, let's see you back your accusations.

Kurt, if you need it, I have a discount certificate for some Extra Strength Advil I can send you. Your post above was spot on.

And, Roger, thanks. I know it's a waste of time, but it sure is fun to get him riled up. And I guess Saul must be his middle name or something.

So Lee - now you are going to deny that you claimed I sought entitlements?

We don't have to go past this thread.

Your words:" Just as your actions demonstrate an attitude of entitlement."

You're finally starting to get it. I disagreed with you and now you feel you're entitled to an apology.


I disagreed with you


Yes, you disagreed with me - no problem. More glaring, you made an accusation which you have not only failed to back up but now denied despite the evidence. How ironic that you are demanding honesty from our representatives.

Did you learn this in Saul's class?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW3MIixEps4

Where is the evidence?

And that clip from YouTube????????????????????????????? Huh? But I guess it's just as relevant as most of your other posts here.

Gotta get packed up for a trip to Hole In The Rock. See ya in four days.


Where is the evidence?


Razzle Dazzle.

Your words:" Just as your actions demonstrate an attitude of entitlement."

You think if you deny it long enough it will go away?

"You think if you deny it long enough it will go away?"

That's a tactic used by folks like Karl Rove. Please don't accuse me of such things.

Could everyone move back to discussing the issue of sequester cuts and effects on parks? The amazing thing about the NPS is that due to ongoing drives for fiscal control, most individual parks and the Service as a whole are under the 95% personal services cost threshold that has allowed managers to not furlough any permanent employees. That is a "miracle" among government agencies. Travel, cut; seasonals, cut; purchases of supplies, cut; permanent staff, not furloughed. Protecting the core of staffing shows one strength of the Service.


Please don't accuse me of such things.


Why not, that is exactly what you have done.

Your words on this thread: " Just as your actions demonstrate an attitude of entitlement."

Yet you won't own up to them.

Razzle Dazzle

Really, folks, leave the personal stuff at home. Stick to the point, don't make personal attacks, or find another outlet. We're all too good for this sort of back and forth.


Protecting the core of staffing shows one strength of the Service.


Yes, that certainly is the top priority.


Folks, leave the personal stuff at home.


Kurt - I am with you. But you can't let anyone make personal attacks without holding them accountable. Lee made personal accusations about me. All I have done is asked him to substantiate them - which he has failed to do.

Kurt I apologize for allowing myself to get into another fruitless go-round with ec.

Back to sequestration -- the Forest Service is cutting back on opening dates for some campgrounds in the Wasatch/Cache National Forest. It's not just the NPS.

Partisans of both sides will blame the other. Things haven't changed much since 1966 when Stephen Stills penned, "...singing songs and carrying signs... mostly saying hooray for our side...".

Regardless of the blame for the sequestration, Markey is right - sequestration IS a betrayal of that committment.

Thanks to NPS Survivor for bringing us back to the real issues in this discussion. Let's leave the personal attacks aside.

Rick


Let's leave the personal attacks aside.


Would have been nice if you would have come out with that when they began.


That is hardly a restrictive clause. If he had said "Those Republicans who" then it would have been restrictive, but still a lie. No Republicans "forced" anything. They bent to the President's suggestion and voted along with the Democrats. The only thing restrictive in his statement is that he failed to given at least equal blame to the Democrats.


"Congressional Republicans who . . . " is clearly a restrictive clause. (If there were a comma before "who," it would be nonrestrictve. Adding "those" has nothing to do with the clause being restrictive/nonrestrictive.) Markey is obviously referring to those Congressional Republicans who voted for the sequester and then blamed Obama for its effects on the national parks (e.g. Issa, Meadows, etc.) He's not referring to Democrats because Democrats who voted for the sequester aren't blaming Obama for its effects on the parks.


The only thing restrictive in his statement is that he failed to given at least equal blame to the Democrats.


You seem to be confusing "restrictive" as a grammatical element of the sentence with what the sentence expresses.

Thank you traveler for posting the article on the "sequester cuts" and their effects on our Parks. As I live next to Yosemite, I see the consequences of the cuts here almost daily, it is of concern. The article documents the cuts consequences to Parks, but we must remember all the other important programs that are having serious problems, Meals on Wheels, Head Start programs, rental assistance for the very poor, embassy security, unemployment benefit cutbacks, medicare reductions, well the list can be extended to every government agency. The Congress was quick, however, to address the issue of flight delays, which of course was a real inconvenience to them as it delayed their getting back to their weekly fund raising activities. The lesson in all of this, sadly, is that flight delays should have been addressed, but unfortunately, if a budget cut doesn't impact a wealthy constituency, congress can't be bothered to fix it.


is clearly a restrictive clause


Just like your creative grammatical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment which is totally refuted by the text (sans comma) that was actually ratified and by all the contemporary discussions in the Federalist Papers and other contemporary works. But keep dancing. You and Lee make a cute couple.

And once again - even if it were a restrictive clause - it would be a lie. Republicans, one or all, didn't force anything on anybody.


You and Lee make a cute couple.



But you can't let anyone make personal attacks without holding them accountable.


He's not referring to Democrats because Democrats who voted for the sequester aren't blaming Obama for its effects on the parks.


LOL He is a Democrat and doing just that.

Razzle Dazzle.


And once again - even if it were a restrictive clause [which it is] - it would be a lie. Republicans, one or all, didn't force anything on anybody.


Like I said, Markey is spinning as much as Boehner et al. It's as much a lie as those statements attaching the sequester and park shutdowns to Obama and the Dems. Beyond that, I'll defer to Kurt's early post.


LOL He is a Democrat and doing just that.


Where?

It's as much a lie as those statements attaching the sequester and park shutdowns to Obama and the Dems.

Justin - who came up with the idea of a sequester? Hint - it wasn't the Republicans. Who turned down the opportunity to designate the cuts? Hint - he lives in the White House. Attaching the sequester - and subsequent shutdowns - to Obama and the Dems is hardly a lie.


Where?


You are kidding right? In the very paragraph being quoted.


Attaching the sequester - and subsequent shutdowns - to Obama and the Dems is hardly a lie.


The sequester that the same Congressional Republicans voted for? In much higher numbers than Congressional Dems? If you want to argue that this is "hardly a lie," be my guest.


In the very paragraph being quoted.


Where in that paragraph?


The sequester that the same Congressional Republicans voted for?


If Obama had never proposed, the Republicans would have had nothing to vote for.

Where in that paragraph?


"Republicans in Congress who forced these painful cuts to our national parks are looking for someone else to blame. It’s time they accept responsibility for their actions and immediately restore funding to our national parks and other vital job-creating programs by ending the sequester,"

Your reading comprehension can't really be that bad. It must be that Razzle Dazzle.


If Obama had never proposed, the Republicans would have had nothing to vote for.


I'll let that one stand on its own.


"Republicans in Congress who forced these painful cuts to our national parks are looking for someone else to blame. It’s time they accept responsibility for their actions and immediately restore funding to our national parks and other vital job-creating programs by ending the sequester,"


How is this an example of "Markey referring . .. to Democrats who voted for the sequester . . . blaming Obama for its effects on the parks"?


How is this an example of "Markey referring . .. to Democrats who voted for the sequester . . . blaming Obama for its effects on the parks"?


That was your reference, not mine. You want an example of a Democrat that supported the sequester that is now squealing? Obama. The Blamer in Chief. The idea came from his office, he endorsed it and now he is whining with the best of them.


You and Lee make a cute couple.


Kurt -come on. That is totally unacceptable behavior on ec buck's part. Justin did absolutely nothing to even bait such a comment. And it's just ec trying to play a "man" card. If u are going to allow that kind of bs do we get to start talking about kicking each other's asses too? You are moderating this board and need to seriously consider what u r allowing to happen. That kind of talk not only doesn't do anything constructive, it is just plain mean spirited talk by some guy who is hiding behind his online persona. I can ignore a lot but that is over the line.

After a good nights sleep I can't believe this back and forth with ecbuck is still going on. Quit responding and maybe he will go away.

Scott et al, the cat fights that crop up are highly disappointing, and involve more than just one individual. In the past I have warned individuals off-line about their comments, and even banned some from the site.

Quiet honestly, I'd like to avoid outright bans, and would hope the individuals who push the limits of deceny and respect would realize that and refrain. We are working on some technical solutions that will address this behavior, and hope to have them installed soon.

In the meantime, to one and all, if you wouldn't voice such mean-spirited comments to someone face-to-face, don't do it here. And if it becomes obvious that you would do it face-to-face, you will be blocked from the Traveler.

I know my post will not stop anyone, but I, for one, would like to see a little more respect for the office of the President of the United States. I don't remember calling President Nixon the "liar in chief", nor President Clinton the "adulterer in chief", or President Bush the "warmonger in chief". People are free to like or not like the policies and actions of a particular President, but that shouldn't devolve into name calling and the like.

Rick

Scott, I think you read more into that comment than was meant. I was referencing that both were "dancing" and nothing more. I apologize if you were offended.

As to "hiding behind an on line persona". I have identified myself before and will do so again. You can find out all abut me at www.ownthesummit.com


You want an example of a Democrat that supported the sequester that is now squealing? Obama. The Blamer in Chief. The idea came from his office, he endorsed it and now he is whining with the best of them.


Nope. This strays pretty far off point. Take another look at your comment at 9:03, which is what this line of discussion has been referring to.