National Park Service Discussed Plan to Close Monuments with White House

October 16, 2013

While the federal government remains closed, a House panel held a hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s move to close national parks across the country and to ban tourists from visiting open-air monuments in Washington, efforts that GOP members alleged were meant purely to make the shutdown sting more.

During the hearing Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.) questioned Jonathan Jarvis, the National Park Service Director on his communications with the White House and the reasoning behind shutting down the monuments.

"Several times on the phone with the White House I presented with the Secretary my decision, but it was never the reverse," Jarvis said.

Below is the full exchange:

REP. MICA: I mean, I think nothing has resonated more with the public than to see an open-air monument such as the World War II Memorial and, close by, the Martin Luther King Memorial. It just seems that common sense did not prevail.

Did you -- now you said you take full responsibility for that action. Is that correct?

DIR. JARVIS: That's correct.

REP. MICA: And did you discuss this with the secretary of interior, Jewell, at any time?

DIR. JARVIS: Yes, I did.

REP. MICA: And did she -- did -- then you didn't discuss it with anyone in the White House, did you?

DIR. JARVIS: In -- several times on the phone with the White House I presented, with the secretary, my decision, but it was never the reverse, so there was never any (official coming to our ?) --

REP. MICA: So you discussed with officials in the White House your action --

DIR. JARVIS: That's correct.