Berating the director of the National Park Services, Jonathan Jarvis:
Nora Caplan-Bricker puts this piece of political theater in perspective:
Whether or not the parks service did a flawless job implementing the shutdown (after furloughing over 20,000 of its roughly 23,000 employees), only in a funhouse-mirror version of reality should members of Congress be debating the functions of an agency that accounts for .0006 percent of the federal budget on the day before we may default on our national debt.
Tim Murphy also covered the hearing:
Republican congressmen had a handy point of comparison for the closures on the National Mall: Occupy DC set up camp on the NPS-maintained McPherson Square for 100 days in 2011 without harassment from park police. “Do you consider it an exercise of your First Amendment right to walk to a monument that you helped build,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) asked Jarvis, “or is it only just smoking pot at McPherson Square?”
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) seized on a quote, provided anonymously from a NPS ranger to aWashington Times columnist, that “we’ve been told to make life as difficult for the people as we can.” Over the last two weeks, conservatives have cited this as evidence the White House may have orchestrated the monument closures. Jarvis insisted that it was strictly an NPS decision. He denied any such order to make life difficult and said the quote—which after all appeared in a newspaper that regularly publishes Ted Nugent—was “hearsay.” “It may be hearsay,” Mica said, but he was sticking to it.