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Congressional Hearing Into National Park Service Shutdown Process Leads To Bashing


A smug, biting, and sarcastic roster of Republicans bashed National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis during a hearing Wednesday into how the Park Service handled the closure of the park system in the wake of the federal government's partial shutdown.

The joint hearing by the House Oversight and Natural Resources committees offered harsh criticism, and even condemnation, from many of the GOP committee members, alternating with praise and support from Democratic members.

Director Jarvis was forced to sit and listen to his critics, as the committees subpoeaned him to appear after he initially demurred from their request that he testify.

At one point Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, pointedly called the director "a liability to the National Park Service."

That attack was quickly rebutted by Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, who defended Director Jarvis and praised his service to the Park Service.

The hearing offered stark contrasts over whose fault the closure of the National Park System was, with Republicans blaming the Senate for not voting on a measure that would have provided funding to open the parks and charging the Obama administration with making the parks' closure inconvenient and harsher than it might have been, while Democrats saddled the blame on the Republicans in the House for refusing to approve the Senate's Continuing Resolution to fund government.

Rep. Pete Defazio, D-Oregon, at one point held up a mirror to the Republicans on the two committees and remarked, "Here's who is responsible for shutting down the national parks."

In response to a question from Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, the director acknowledged the closure of the park system didn't go as smoothly as it might have.

"We haven't done this in 20 years. Shutting down is hard and complicated. There were some lessons learned here," said Director Jarvis.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California, said he was disgusted by this "sham of a hearing," calling it a "kangaroo court" and pointless other than to give some an opportunity to offer soundbites and toss about reckless claims.

In sum, he said, the hearing "makes the McCarthy era look like the Enlightenment."

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Hmm Lee, I thought it was about the parks and the people that visit them. Didn't realize the priority was supposed to be the front line workers.

Lee, your first link was opinion not fact and you apparently mis-read or didn't understand the second. Its point on the Bush tax cut was that it dropped receipts as a percentage of the economy not that actual receipts went down. Thats the whole point. Lower tax rates stimulate a bigger economy and thus higher actual receipts

The actual numbers can be found here:

and they are exactly as I quoted them.

Ah, well. Talking with a rock can be difficult.

You're wrong Lee... it's not about the people employed or volunteering for the NPS. It's about the PARKS, the public accessibility to them and what it costs taxpayers to operate them.

There are teriffic people working as park employees and volunteers. Without the parks themselves they may as well be painters or carpenters or... community organizers....

Lee, thank you for the post. It is good to be brought back to center.

Sara, thanks for the link!

Sorry for the double post, it told me the server didn't take it the first time.

Yep, story about the 92-year old ranger is pretty amazing. Just like that guy at Glacier.

Wash Post slideshow(Photos 1-8 are from the National Mall today)

Y'know, from time to time perhaps we all need to remember that all this fuss and muss and flying feathers is not at all what's really important.

It's not Jarvis. It's not the high muckety-mucks in Interior. It's not the Congresscritters.

It's the ordinary people of NPS. The maintenance worker cleaning toilets. The fee collector greeting visitors at an entrance station. An LE ranger working radar. An interpreter interpreting.

Those are the people who are REALLY important. Like this one -- the oldest ranger in the National Park Service:

(Rats -- not sure how to make it work. But go to and watch the clip about the 92-year old ranger at Rosie the Riviter. Nightly News October 17)

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