More than 90 veterans arrived in Washington DC today, having embarked upon a visit to the World War II Memorial as part of an Honor Flight, only to be met with barricades erected as part of the government shutdown.
The need for the barricades was questionable:
The Park Service is being used as a political tool today. They're clearly expending more resources to barricade otherwise unmanned parks.
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 1, 2013
But in the end, this would not deter the men from the Greatest Generation. They were met at the park by US Representative Steven Palazzo and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and other lawmakers, some of whom decided to move the barricades to let the vets get closer to the memorial.
— Leo Shane III (@LeoShane) October 1, 2013
From FOX News:
“These men and women didn’t cower to the Japanese and Germans,” Palazzo said. “I don’t think they’re about to let a few National Park Police stand in their way.”
Palazzo, who was joined by several other members of Congress, moved the barricades at the memorial and police did not try to stop the veterans’ access.
“I’m not going to enforce the ‘no stopping or standing’ sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” a U.S. Park Police officer, who declined to give his name, told The Washington Post. “I’m a veteran myself.”
The veterans are traveling as part of Honor Flight, a program that enables World War II veterans to partake in an expense-paid trip to view the memorial. Tuesday’s trip is the second-to-last flight, with the last scheduled for November. But prior to their arrival early Tuesday, there was fear that the government shutdown and federal worker furloughs would mean no access to the monuments on the National Mall.
But with lawmakers leading the charge, the American military heroes, some in wheelchairs, surged into the memorial.
“It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” Palazzo said. “We lined the veterans up along the blockade, we saw an opening and we took it.”
Republicans meanwhile have proposed piecemeal legislation aimed at keeping some of the national parks open in the wake of the shutdown. As The Hill noted, the strategy mirrors suggestions made by Senator Ted Cruz.
“We should fund national parks and keep them open right now, today,” Cruz told reporters Tuesday. “And we saw yesterday, that can happen quickly. It doesn’t take weeks or even days, within hours, if Congress wants to, we can fund every single one of the priorities the president laid out yesterday, we can fund clean CRs if Harry Reid and the Democrats don’t object. That is what I hope we will do.”
But several White House spokespeople called that idea “not serious,” and the proposals have already been rejected, according to The Hill.
“President Obama and Senator Harry Reid would rather shut down the government than engage in talks to end special treatment for the well connected under ObamaCare,” a House GOP leadership aide said. “Closed parks and delayed veterans benefits can be easily remedied and allow us to remain focused on forcing the Senate to finally come to the table and talk with us.”
Senate Democrats and President Obama rejected the proposals, with a spokesman for Obama saying he would veto the measures if they reached his desk.
“These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said.
GOP targeted funding bills. RT @markknoller: "If these bills were to come to the President’s desk he would veto them," says @Brundage44.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 1, 2013
Republicans have offered several compromises in recent days in order to try and pass a Continuing Resolution after the first proposal that included the defunding of Obamacare was voted down in the Senate. Subsequent proposals did away with defunding Obamacare but ranged from repealing the medical device tax to delaying the individual mandate in the health care law. All have been roundly rejected by Democrats.
Update by WAJ: Ace has to story of how the barricades were all a set up for a photo op: Obama Adminstration Specifically Denied Exception to Permit Veterans to Attend WWII MemorialDONATE
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