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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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It was hard to watch and it really shows how disgusting our politics have become. On the one hand you have Republicans blaming Jarvis for shutting down NPS sites, when it was they who were responsible for shutting down those NPS sites. And on the other hand, there are some legitimate questions about how we can better handle shutting down NPS sites. This is not Director Jarvis's fault, it is soley the fault of the dimwits in D.C., particular the fault of the Republicans. However, the NPS should sit down and better plan for the next government shutdown. Whether that shutdown be two months from now, a year from now, or another 20 years from now. Get a rubric together of how to handle and be consistent for what should happen during a shutdown.

Sadly, it is fuel for the haters of all ilk.

My opinion is similar to the above comment - the tea party extremists, along with Boehner's incompetence, created the situation. The NPS, extremely sad to say, should have had some plans on the shelf for this eventuality. Now that we know we've been electing nihilistic children to Congress, the NPS should take notes from the Pentagon about having potentially needed game plans in binders on the shelf.

Every unit in the NPS has a plan should power be lost...they have a plan for hazardous materials releases...they have plans for development of facilities...

Of course the agency should have had a plan in place for 'closure of the government'. After all, this is 17 of them in some number of years...The fact that they didn't indicates that at a high level the agency is not prepared for what surely is coming their way. They are and always have been the most public agency during these events. Maybe they'll have a plan next time....considering the damage done to the agency credibility from this one...

Congress has surely acted badly during the past two weeks. Both parties have acted badly...but...Planning for these events really has nothing to do with Congress. We have always elected suspect Congresspersons...criminals like Cunningham and Jackson Jr., those focused upon their own futures rather than the countries like SJLee or Traficant and those who are simply clueless about anything like Mr Johnson of Georgia...

The agency simply has to be prepared. They weren't. I hope they are next time.

Never before have we seen such shenanigans such as closing down the parks as we have under the 0bama regime. I suggest Defazio look in the mirror himself to see who shut the parks down. From day one, Republicans were willing to negotiate. The dems were not. Their behavior has been despicable. Jarvis should have told 0bama to take a hike.

Republicans willing to negotiate? Only if they could defund or otherwise eviscerate the Affordable Care Act or open only those parts of the government that were causing their approval ratings to drop,.

The hearing today was a travesty.


Dave, Take your nonsense elsewhere. Sane, rational discussions are had here, and we don't need your political divisiveness.

Political divisiveness is a model for community organizers but will tread softly in the discussion. One might consider the obvious reality of implementing the closure in absurdly partisan ways. Of coarse I'm refering the blocking of WWII Veterans from their memorial while allowing an illegal immigration rally on the mall with the blessing of the President putting NPS squarely in a very undesirable position. Have great sympathies for those NPS Rangers put in that position. They had little say I am sure. Do you not see the attitude the Republican Congressman displayed understandable just a little bit? NPS was used in a most unamerican way that really sends chills through many that remember when this was perceived a great country. Internationals visiting GC say as much in the visitor logs. I'm including a post from our Rep. here in Arizona on what has been happening.

Fault lies in many places. Parks are loved by democrats, republicans, independents and those from foreign nations. Our first president warned us about parties, saying that partisans will lose their own thoughts on an issue for the sake of the party. So in a hearing like this you see two lines of group think - one for and one against. A democrat can't have questions about veteran access? A republican can't praise the director? Sad.

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