October 2nd, 2013
04:25 PM ET
5 years ago

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee is offering the United States government a check to pay for guards at the National World War II Memorial, chairman Reince Priebus announced Wednesday.

"We're willing to pay the bill," said Priebus, who was speaking to reporters as he stood in front of a fence at the memorial.

The memorial had been the site of a dramatic encounter Tuesday between visiting World War II veterans and a fence erected to keep visitors out. The National Parks Service argued the government shutdown left them with no personnel to guard and maintain the open air memorial.

According to Priebus, the RNC is willing to pay for five guards who would watch over the memorial, what the party committee estimated to be a $150,000 expenditure for 30 days, Priebus said.

Priebus also invited the Democratic National Committee to help pay for the proposed security at the memorial.

The memorial fence has become a flashpoint in the shutdown debate, with Democrats blaming Republican intransigence for forcing all national parks, including the memorial on the National Mall, to close down.

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The DNC quickly responded to the Republican proposal by calling it a "stunt."

"We've already been working on a plan to open the Memorial - and the entire government - after the GOP caused them to close. It's called a clean funding resolution and it sounds like the votes are there if the Speaker would just call for a vote," DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee said in a statement.

"It would save the economy a lot of money and get the Memorial and government open a whole lot faster. I think he probably has Speaker Cruz Boehner's number somewhere, and I'll bet veterans would appreciate it a whole lot more than his silly stunt."

Democrats have accused Boehner of weak leadership, cowtowing to tea party Republicans led in part by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Republicans in turn have blasted President Barack Obama's administration for closing off open air memorials that do not have staff 24/7, but that visitors can walk up to any hour of the day.

Priebus accused the administration of wantonly keeping out the World War II veterans.

"It was the Obama administration's choice to block this memorial," Priebus said.

"The president himself promised to veto legislation that would keep our monuments open," he said, in reference to the piecemeal funding measures introduced yesterday in the GOP-dominated House of Representatives. Those measures, which would have funded national parks, veterans' benefits and the Washington, D.C. local government, failed to get the two-thirds majority they needed to pass Tuesday.

Obama has promised to veto any piecemeal funding legislation and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the approach was not serious. Senate Democrats have managed to hold firm against anything other than a "clean" funding resolution that provides money for the entire government, including Obamacare.

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Priebus said donors to the RNC would be "happy" to fund guards for the memorial.

"Our donors have had it with a stubborn Democratic party who've been offered one deal after the next by the Republicans in the House," Priebus said.

Priebus charged that Democrats "don't want to keep the parks open," he said. "They want to make it painful."

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For now, it appears that the World War II and other memorials will remain closed, albeit with far less effort made at keeping people out.

"Without staff or funding to ensure the safety of visitors, the security of the memorials, and the continued operation and maintenance of park facilities, the memorials on the National Mall – just like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon – are closed," National Park Service Spokeswoman Carol Johnson said in a statement.

"The Honor Flights are being granted access to the WWII memorial to conduct First Amendment activities in accordance with National Park Service regulations applicable to the National Mall and Memorial Parks."

Honor Flights is a non-profit organization that provides free transportation to aging military veterans who want to visit the World War Two Memorial.

soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    It fills one with despair to fight not just an internal rebellion, but multimillion-dollar propaganda organs that are supporting the rebellion.

    The unchallenged grandstanding makes me sick. But! Gotta stay after it.

    October 2, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. US Citizen

    There is not a representative or congressman in office today that deserves to be (or not to be) there. Elections will be easy. Vote for the challenger wherever possible.

    October 2, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    But the GOP has no qualms cutting off money to WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program that on average, gives low-income families $45 a month to help them purchase food.

    9 million low-income mothers, pregnant women, babies and young children rely on this program, which will lose funding if the government shutdown continues.

    THIS is what the GOP ("family-values" party, my fanny!) thinks of the most vulnerable in our society.

    October 2, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Ol' Yeller

    ""We're willing to pay the bill," said Priebus"
    Why not... you caused the problem. How about the RNC pay ALL the government Workers and save those cancer children Bash was deriding Reid about? They are the ones causing this problem, the least they could do would be to pay EVERYTHING until they can pull their heads out.

    October 2, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    "CNN doesn't want you to know about the fact that the veterans groups appreciated what the administration was doing for them...no no...they want you to ride the nontroversy train to hypeville."

    CNN is becoming more and more like the National Enquirer... I still post here to support stemming the tide of misinformation.

    October 2, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    No to the man with the funny name. There should be no special favors for anyone.
    Your teatards are already getting paid while millions are suffering.

    October 2, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We're willing to pay the bill," said Priebus, who was speaking to reporters as he stood in front of a fence at the memorial."

    I am shaking my head in disgust at what has become of the RNC.

    October 2, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Freedom Sandwich Mmmmm So free-y

    Listen everyone,

    Before you get all up in arms about this national tragedy have you considered the awesome benefits this government shutdown has afforded you? In case you haven't, please consider this:

    1. Want a pet Buffalo or Moose or whatever? With no park rangers it is not like anyone will stop you if you just mosey into the national parks and grab your favorite little furry friend. Oh, so your kids always talk about how cute those little black bears are when they see them on tv? Well now is your chance to give little Jimmy the birthday surprise of a lifetime!

    2. Want to film an Apocalypse movie? Now is your chance. With everything closed down, and no visitors allowed anywhere, you should be able to establish some pretty sweet shots of 100% vacant areas that are usually bustling with activity. Maybe even spray some fake blood on the road blocks to make for more of a zombie feel!

    3. Free popcorn! AMC is giving out free small popcorn to all federal employees while this opportunity in Washington is happening. Which is better, working all day or... FREE POPCORN!

    4. This is the perfect, PERFECT chance for everyone on the internet to finally rally against all of the broken down brain damaged Washington machine instead of just picking their favorite side like usual. Normally we see everyone saying "Oh, it is because of those stupid Republicans!" or "Oh, it is the result of those stupid liberal Democrats". But guys, don't you see? This time we can all hold hands across the country and just say, "It is because of those stupid politicians!" This is almost like the end to the glorious east west rap wars of the 90s.

    So you see, lets all turn those frowns upside down and focus on the positive aspects of this occasion.


    October 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Long and short of it: When its paid for by our taxes, the GOP hates it...nobody gets to "take credit for" paying taxes...but when they think they can gain political leverage and score points by paying for it, they'll take out the checkbook.

    October 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Tom

    Aww, isn't that sweet. The RNC is picking up the bill for a mess it caused. Are they going to pick up the bills for all the other costs this stunt is causing?

    October 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    And after 30 days what then?

    October 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Sick and Tired

    This just goes to show how divided the people in this country really are. I do not in anyway agree with the gov't shutdown but at the same time I also do not believe that our national government should pay for every little thing we do. These masses of federal workers wouldn't be out of their jobs if our gov't was not so bloated that it needed all these workers to control every aspect of your life. Typical Democratic philosophy that every democrat I have ever meet feels like everything is OWED to them without having to get off their sorry a$$es and earn it like everyone else does. All I constantly hear is how we need to tax the rich more but very few of you have ever bothered to see exactly how much taxes these people do pay, trust me they pay alot more than you do, the 10% or so of you that aren't on welfare and SNAP. The corporations are the ones getting the tax breaks that the news media always likes to just water down and call "the rich". We are never going to have any common ground in this society as long as people are let to live free while others have to earn their way to pay for the freeloaders. The vets were exactly right in doing what they did, I applaud them for it as well, and yes the GOP are showboating but you can't honestly tell me that the RNC isn't doing the exact same thing. To my initial point, had this article been on FOX news the comments would have been exactly opposite of what you see here.

    October 2, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. di french

    The administration during a shutdown chose to send in guards and fences to keep people out when the memorial is always open and there are not guards there 24/7. So instead of it being a necessary part of the shutdown it was a deliberate attack on the American people to make them suffer rather than compromise with Republicans who agreed to 99% of everything the Democrats wanted and only asked that the congress not force the taxpayers pay for their insurance exchanges.

    October 2, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. rs

    The GOP, so friggin' pathetic. Look guys, it is now officially embarrassing to watch you guys make even greater fools of yourselves. Either get on with your little revolution (so that you can be dealt with appropriately), or pass the darned funding bill for the whole country and move on. This shilly-shallying is very undignified.

    October 2, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Kelby in Houston Texas

    Well, this is good considering the fact that the reason the WW2 memorial guards aren't getting paid the way the normally do is completely the Republican Party's fault

    October 2, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    It's like the rapist offering to pay for the victims counseling after being brutally raped by said rapist.

    October 2, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Jules

    Why don't they fund the WIC program and help millions of women and children who will be going without food, but of course, that is not their constituents so they basically don't care if they eat or not. They'll fund the WWII Memorial – they are a disgrace to the Greatest Generation using them for show. What a joke for human beings the members of the GOP congress are. Gutless!!!! Clueless!!!!!! Cruel!!!!!! They'll be meeting their Maker one of these days hope they have a better story than what they have been feeding us or they may find themselves in the ultimate shutdown.

    October 2, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. johnName

    really? lol
    now the insult the Vets. first they cause the shut down then they play hero. the AFA is a law, you have a problem take it back to court.
    the tea party is a group of anti-american anti-constitution crazies. i am no longer a republican because of the affiliation.

    October 2, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. don

    First Priebus says the RNC party will pay for Security in full. Then he asked the Dems to kick in 1/2. Then he says the Repub donors would be happy to pay for it.

    Apparently he put his foot in his mouth when he offered to pay for it on the RNC dime. And now is back peddled his way out of paying for it at all.

    Talkes cheap Priebus you just proved that!

    October 2, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Don in albuquerque

    Dear GOTP,
    Judging from the posts here your cheap little "we be the goodguys" plan is backfiring. Might wanna be smart enough to get a clue.

    October 2, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Not as stupid as politicians think

    So the government gets shut down...
    Those responsible still get paid.
    Then those still getting paid, say, "thats not right", and say that they will be giving their money to charity.
    So the side I would consider to be "more" responsible for this mess seems to have staked their claim against obamacare, based on the the fact that they despise "social welfare", or helping the needy.

    Isnt giving your (technically our) money to charity in essense social welfare in an attempt to help the needy?

    Or maybe theyll just use those charitable donations as a tax write off, while they complain about revenue shortfall...

    How do people that have to work so hard to make a living, and make so little, believe that the GOP has their best intentions at heart?

    Your average citizen

    October 2, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Darla44

    Barricading an open WW2 monument is the height of vindictiveness and demonstrates the contempt this administration has for Americans. Where is this president's allegiance to this country?

    October 2, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Jezerie Blango

    The RNC are clowns. Are they going to pay my car note or my rent from this dumb shutdownnnnn. Stop playing political games, I HAVE A FAMILY TO FEED.

    October 2, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Sean

    If we cannot have partisanship, we should not have a government. Bring on the shutdown!

    October 2, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. listen

    since it seems no one here realizes what is actually going on let me fill u in. the house said they didn't didn't want to fund obamacare and reid said no and sent it back without even voting on it. Then the house said they just wanted to delay it for a year and dems said no. Then they said ok how about we just cut the exemptions for congress and corporations and reid STILL said no. How ironic that all I hear on these blogs is libs railing against the corporations and the one percenters yet sumhow in this situation the repubs are the evil ones. Just more liberal hipocrisy

    October 2, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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