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. Federal 'servant'

    To di French,
    Have you been to the national mall? I have. There are always national park and police making sure someone doesn't deface the memorials. The fact that people are angry makes this extra important.

    October 2, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. CLW

    The more I see the tea partiers on TV, the more I dreed that these idiots ever get control of the Senate, or white house. How do JA's like this get elected? The side show the GOP talking heads put on at the Veterans Memerial. Was enough to make G.Washington turn over in his grave. It's their fault that it is closed in the first place. To blame Obama is dishonest, & shows they are trying to escape blame, for the mess they created. Showing the check for 5 private guards was a nice touch, & so phoney. Gov. funds have been found to supply guards, by the Dem's. I am guilty the same as many people, of believing the BS put out by the GOP on ACA. Delaying enactment for a year, seemed resonable. Since Obama caved to Rep's to grant the extension. Now the GOP want a do over. I changed my mind when I heard 28 people a day die without health insurance. Add in the IHC kids who may die without cancer care. Then there is the 800K government people on ferlough. All the money they are not being paid, is not going back into the economy. Rep's offer to put their employees in ACA, while they are getting taxpayer free insurance. All these fanatic TP members should be re-called or defeated for re-election. Palin, Backman, Paul, Cruz & the other 30-40 stooges. Their resonability & respectability is gone, so playing chicken on a gov. shut down is their only desperation play left.

    October 2, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. adfad

    Is noone else going to comment on the fact that 5 guards for 30 days costs $150k? An annualized salary over 300k per guard???

    October 2, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. sno

    Thanks RNC. Veterans deserve to be respected despite disagreement in government.
    Republican party DO NOT GIVE UP!!!

    October 2, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Winston Smith

    The RNC, The RNC. RNC, stands for really not connected. At this point I wouldn't spit in the face of a republican, even if it was on fire.

    October 2, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Simon Lloyd

    Are they kidding? THIS IS WHAT THEY OFFER TO FUND, with their ENDLESS campaign money.

    Stupid politicizing morons, cowards and lickspittles.

    And to all you idiots calling us Gov Employee's we offer services and do jobs at lower wages, stuff you fools couldn't stomach if someone had a gun to your head.
    We have families and rent to pay just like the rest of you – and again, WE ARE NOT GOD DAMNED LAZY.
    Before the Gov, shutdown I was already working about 20hr's a week for free. Now I guess I'm headed towards 60/week.
    But what would you 'private' and well-to-do citizens know about that, too busy selling fancy car's and worthless tv remotes to line your own pockets without thinking of another human in your whole wasted life.

    October 2, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. Simon Lloyd

    oh and anyone arguing about negotiations, those were ended three years ago when the LAW WAS PASSED! This is the deal period.
    Now follow the law and manage to elect enough people for a repeal or shut up.

    October 2, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. J Y

    Are they also going to pay to open the Library of Congress, or are they too busy pandering?

    October 2, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. will never vote Republician again

    The GOP is disgusting

    October 2, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Name

    The Democrats are pulling the stunt. No reason these parks should be closed. There is surely enough excess behind the scenes, but Obama wants to make it sting.

    October 2, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Fraudidentifer

    Did you notice the check Priebus was holding up was blank.

    October 2, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  12. scarf

    I suggest taking the RNC's money, with the understanding that it will go to paying down the national debt, rather than to pay for their shameless grandstanding.

    October 2, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. TJeff1776

    The sole and ONLY reason that Repubs want negotiations is to chip away at Obamacare and thereby have even less to deal with when they again take power- they hope. WHY should Demos want to negotiate at all under those circumstances ? Obamacare has already gone through the negotiating gauntlet w/ cuts multiple times. Repub propaganda attempts to high-pressure Obama into yet more cuts will surely fail- as it should. Why would anyone be so stupid as to enter into ANY TYPE negotiations with anyone with NO possibility of gain ??? INDEED- losses only..

    October 2, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. RockinInTheFreeWorld

    150,000 for 5 guards over 30 days...does that mean these guards make 30,000 a month?
    What am I missing?

    October 2, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    What a crock. Just the fact that the us government thinks that there needs to be guards. Let the people enjoy our national treasures. They even went so far as to put barricades along the Clara Barton and George Washington parkways to keep people out. Overthinking it all as the government does and spending money to boot to erect the silly barricades.
    tiring and wasteful. Eliminate 20 percent of the excess jobs and we would not be in this predicament.

    October 2, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. TJeff1776

    One last comment- down with the elephant party. IF he/she is Repub- vote'em OUT.

    October 2, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  17. Cephus

    RNC have the money to pay for WW11 Memorial guards whoa just read the other day that, DNC is broke! now we know where the lobbyist are heading to.

    October 2, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. josh

    So you guys are blaming the GOP for not negotiating? The GOP wants to get rid of obamacare. But the dems said no. So they came back with defunding it and the dems said no. So they came back with delaying it and the dems said no. They came back with delaying the individual mandate and the dems said no.
    So which side is it that is attempting to negotiate and come to a compromise?

    October 2, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  19. Jack

    Just like the Tea Party Republicans to pick and choose what they want to fund!

    If any President, whether Democrat or Republican, would let a small group of the House of Representative's negotiate funding piece meal would setting a precedent that the House of Representative is the top branch of the government in Washington D.C. I really don't care if your a Republican, Democrat or Independent. The House of Representatives is the lower branch of Congress and they do not run the government, they represent the people of each individual state district, they do not rule the executive branch. The Speaker of the House should be negotiating with the Leader of Senate, not the President. Mr Beohner is trying supersede the President's authority. Unfortunately that started with Mike Mansfield & LBJ, Speakers of the House back in the 60's. But Mr. Beohner & the Tea Party Republican has taken to a whole new level by demanding that President negotiate the defunding of a bill that was passed 4 years ago.

    Even it was President Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Kennedy or Eisenhower I'd make the same argument!

    October 2, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. Jaron Porter

    How about the RNC pay to feed children and the needy in danger of having their services ended instead of funding more of this political theater?

    October 2, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  21. Jay

    You libs make me laugh how is it the repubs are causing the shutdown? The dems won't negotiate! This mess should be delayed or repealed! At least repubs stand with most Americans and businesses!

    October 2, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. dan

    $150000 for 5 guards for 30 days. that's $30000 for each guard for 30 days which is $1000 a day per guard. I want that job once furlough is over.

    October 2, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. Doug Venenga

    The White House sent over even more security personal to help keep it closed. There are now more people working to lock it down then is needed to keep it open. The White House will not sign off to help children get cancer treatment but they have thousands of Federal Employees staffing the new Obama Care help lines. The agenda to inflict pain for the purpose of getting their way is childish. I used to act that way when I was 6 or 7. But then again I wasn't given a country to run.

    October 2, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This is getting tiresome and I have five kids... VOTE ALL REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE IN NOVEMBER AND IN 2014. Come to NJ and I'll buy you a beer for your troubles....

    October 3, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  25. BWV208

    If the GOP is making big altruistic statrmrnts about paying for the guards at the WWII memorial–they should do the right thing ans pay for ALL the memorials, National Parks and Historical sites to remain open. There are many people who want to see the Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Gettysburg, and Yellowstone Park, just to mention a few. C'mon GOP do something correctly instead of an empty gesture to create questionable publicity

    October 3, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
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