Taiwan Pledges $1 Million Toward Construction of Eisenhower Memorial as Congress Withholds Funds

Simpson: 'I think it's best they start over'

Sen. Pat Roberts
Sen. Pat Roberts / AP

Taiwan is pledging $1 million toward the construction of a monument honoring 34th U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C., though Congress continues to withhold funding from the project.

Roll Coll reported that Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee panel overseeing the project, announced the contribution from Taiwan Tuesday.

Despite the gift and the National Capital Planning Commission’s recent approval of "starchitect" Frank Gehry’s revised design for the memorial, Congress has not provided the project—estimated by the 11-member Eisenhower Memorial Commission to cost $144 million—with construction funding since 2012.

Funds have been withheld amid disputes in Congress and the Eisenhower family regarding the Gehry design, which the commission rejected in a vote last year. While the new design gained preliminary approval in October, Rep. Mike Simpson (R., Idaho), the commission’s vice chairman, continued to express doubt last month.

"There’s been some real conflict between the staff, the Eisenhower family and, to some degree, Congress," Simpson explained in a June interview before federal planners approved Gehry’s design. "In the end, what you’ve got to have is a design that’s supported by the Eisenhower family. They don’t have to have veto power, but they can’t oppose it. So, I think it’s best that they start over."

Roberts, who was previously committed to securing additional funding for the project in a future spending deal, is now calling those attempts "too hasty."

"The big thing is the National Capital Planning Commission approving. But we’re still working with the family," he admitted. "That’s all I care about right now."

Nevertheless, federal planners continue to say that the memorial will be finished in 2017.

The Eisenhower family, commission, architect, and Congress have been working on the project since 1999.