House Republicans set the wheels in motion for a government shutdown, but one Texas GOPer is blaming the Park Service for shuttering U.S. landmarks.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer challenged an on-duty U.S. Park Ranger for letting veterans, but not the general public, tour the World War II memorial. The Texas Republican made a scene Thursday morning, telling her the Parks Service should be “ashamed” of their behavior.
In the confrontation caught on camera by NBC News4 in Washington, Neugebauer can be heard asking the park ranger how she could deny access to the other tourists hoping to visit the memorial.
“How do you look at them and say – how do you, going to deny them access?” he asked.
“It’s difficult,” the park ranger said.
“Well, it should be difficult,” the Texas congressman responded.
“The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves,” he added moments later after the ranger apologized.
“I’m not ashamed,” she said.
The World War II veterans have been allowed access to the park because they are part of Honor Flights, a program that helps pay tribute to veterans by flying them to Washington from across the. The National Mall’s Public Information Officer said the Parks Service was granting them access so they could exercise their First Amendment rights.
The Honor Flights are being granted access to the WWII Memorial to conduct 1st Amendment actives in accordance with NPS regulations
— Carol B Johnson (@NationalMallPIO) October 2, 2013
After Neugebauer walked away from the ranger, other members of the crowd started chiming in, including a bicyclist who identified himself as a federal worker as well.
“This woman is doing her job, just like me,” he said. “I’m a 30-year federal veteran – I’m out of work.”
“Well, the reason you are is because Mr. Reid decided to shut down the government,” Neugebauer said in response, arguing that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats are to blame for the shutdown.
“No, it’s because the government won’t do its job and pass a budget,” the bicyclist responded.
Thursday’s confrontation was not Neugebauer’s first visit to the memorial. He put the onus for the shutdown on the Senate Wednesday in an Instagram photo he shared.
Republicans have spearheaded an effort to reopen the National Parks, along with a handful of other parts of the federal government, in recent days. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor reiterated that the House will continue those efforts in a letter sent to his Republican colleagues Thursday, highlighting the couple dozen Democrats who have supported specific measures, including reopening the National Institutes of Health and the National Parks.
“This shutdown is a result of President Obama and Majority Leader Reid refusing to reach across the aisle in a divided government, a problem that has sadly been a hallmark of this Administration,” Cantor wrote.
“It is unfortunate - especially for the men and women who work for the federal government and serve our nation so admirably - that we are in this situation. I am willing, as I know you are, to resolve this impasse,” he added.