Ending crisis no walk in the park

Legislators split on how to reopen monument

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Today’s companion headlines – “Ending crisis no walk in the park” and “No deal, with debt deadline looming” – illustrate Republicans’ haphazard approach to governance.

Both in Washington and here, Republican office-holders act “surprised” when the inane “government shutdown” they orchestrated adversely impacts their local constituencies.

Since August 2011, guidance for managing an orderly shutdown of the government has been provided in Office of Management & Budget (“OMB”) Circular No. A-11, which requires federal agencies to promulgate “shutdown contingency plans”.

The National Park Service’s (“NPS”) plan states that all facilities would be closed unless “they are deemed essential for health and safety reasons, are needed to support on-going excepted NPS activities or are located in urban areas where full NPS law enforcement coverage is continued due to the inability to control visitor access.”

Because major monuments in D.C. remained open in the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns (when there was no “sequestration”), the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing next week, entitled, “As Difficult As Possible: The NPS’s Implementation of the Government Shutdown”.  Stay tuned. 

Thus, local Republican politicos Steve King, Ray Scott, and Jared Wright would have more credibility if they jointly signed a letter to “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton demanding that he publicly commit to voting to reopen the entire government – now.

Given his past legislative proposals, Ray Scott’s notion of transferring management responsibility for national parks and monuments from the federal to state governments would presumably be funded in Colorado by further cuts to education – or privatization!

Meanwhile, Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate Gregg Palmer told a local group on Friday that “the only jobs government creates are government jobs”. Obviously, the current brouhaha over national parks and the shutdown’s local economic impacts proves just how dumb this ideologically distorted view of “the multiplier effect” really is.

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