Paul Gosar Investigating Why Parks Were Closed During Government Shutdown

paul-gosar-top.jpg
Paul Gosar via Flickr


Republican Congressman Paul Gosar and some of his colleagues have been investigating why federal parks were closed during the federal government shutdown.

Perhaps someone should send a calculator to Gosar's office to help him put two and two together.

Although the shutdown's now over, Gosar has continued to make statements about the park closures not being due to the government shutdown.

From Gosar's office:
"The House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, both of which Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) is a member, held a joint hearing today entitled "As Difficult As Possible: The National Park Service's Implementation of the Government Shutdown". The hearing examined the National Park Service's execution and decision making concerning the federal government slowdown, which began October 1, 2013."
Gosar has insisted that President Obama himself ordered the shutdown of the parks. There was no sense of irony in the statement Gosar released Wednesday, proudly patting himself on the back for voting against the bill that would end the government shutdown.

Instead, Gosar's story has been that Obama himself just decided to close the park because he doesn't like Americans. Seriously.

This is another statement Gosar had released during the shutdown:
"The fact that the Grand Canyon was shutdown by the federal government only to be re-opened by the state of Arizona provides more clear evidence of two things I have said all along: the states are better managers of public land and there is an obvious failure of leadership at the White House. Almost two weeks ago the House voted to fully fund all National Parks, including the Grand Canyon. The shutdown of the parks was a deliberate decision by the President to 'inflict pain' on hard working Americans."
This is the same Congressman Paul Gosar who has voted on bills throughout the shutdown that he knew damn well would never result in the reopening of the government? Interesting.

Believe it or not, the hearings on the park closings didn't result in anyone uncovering a plot of Obama to shut down America because he hates us all. Shucks.

You can click here to watch videos and see the documents from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.




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46 comments
RobAZ
RobAZ

"The fact that the Grand Canyon was shutdown by the federal government only to be re-opened by the state of Arizona provides more clear evidence of two things I have said all along: the states are better managers of public land and there is an obvious failure of leadership at the White House."

Ok...Let's see, Arizona was able to get it open for 7 days - and on a skeleton crew at that, I was at t the North Rim the last few days and saw how few Rangers were there.  Of the total that Arizona paid to get it open nearly 75% of those funds came from a private donation.  The state coughed up a grand total of $230k and was fully expecting - and making it well known - to be reimbursed by the Feds.  Arizona CANNOT afford to manage and run a park like GCNP.. And it doesn't end at GCNP, there are 24 NPS units in Arizona that are managed and run by NPS, including 3 other national parks .  and 18 national monuments (the most of any state). How in the world would a state that can't get a toilet by the side of the road open after 4 years be able to manage, run and fund these sites?

And, if it's the shutdown that "proves" Arizona is a better manager of public lands, what did Mr Gosar have to say to the Republican - well mostly Tea Party - legislature that, in 2009, swept the funds from the Arizona State Parks?  And what did he have to say when they slashed the state parks budget that same year?  What did he have to say when nearly every state park was shut down because they had no money to run them?  Is he saying that the Republican led legislature - and Jan Brewer - were poor managers of our land?  And that it proved a failure of Arizona leadership?

The only way this state, or any other with a major park/monument in it, could possibly 'afford' to run these would be to privatize them.  And that would entirely defeat the fundamental purpose behind what is widely regarded as America's Best Idea.

OATHKEEPER1958
OATHKEEPER1958

FOLKS WAKE UP YOU DONT NEED THE GOVERNMENT ONE BIT AS SOON AS YOU REALISE THAT YOULL WAKE THE HELL UP!!!  THIS COUNTRY WAS N'T BUILT FOR THE COMMON FOLK TO BE RELIED ON WITH WELFARE AND THE GOVERNMENT!!!!!

camprrm
camprrm

I live in Phx and my company operates and 100% privately funds 35 parks and campgrounds in Arizona, and we have been illegally shut down for 2 weeks.  

While the NPS gets the attention, most Federal parks and campgrounds in Arizona are actually in the US Forest Service, and the majority of these are actually operated privately and funded privately.  Because they take not one dime of Federal money, they have never been closed in past shutdowns, and in fact the US Forest Service on October 2 agreed we concessionaires (I run 35 of the parks in Arizona) would remain open.  But then they were overruled by the White House and we were forced to close.  

I don't know anything about Gosar, but this is the issue the House National Resource Committee was investigating, at least that they contacted me about.  And this week we finally got our cases in front of Federal judges and one by one judges agreed that the closures were arbitrary and not warranted by the anti-deficiency act (that governs shutdown mechanics) and ordered the NPS and USFS to allow us to open.  We got our Temprorary Restraining Order on the USFS just this morning (right when it was too late, lol).

Here is an interview with my competitor (a strong Obama supporter from Berkeley, so this is not some partisan thing).  http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2013/10/reason-tv-on-government-shutdown-of-privately-funded-parks.html

Here is the letter to the Forest Service from the House Nat Resources Committee.  As you can see, the issue focused on why privately funded parks had to close, particularly when the US Forest Service was not closing the Forests to visitors  http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2013/10/house-challenges-us-forest-service-over-closure-of-privately-funded-parks-and-campgrounds.html

I had to call, for example, a dozen people in Arizona to tell them that -- on two days notice -- they had to move their wedding (they were scheduled for Red Rock Crossing which we operate near Sedona).   We run many popular spots (e.g. West Fork of Oak Creek canyon) that could have and should have stayed open to Arizonans since our company funds 100% of the operations (from staffing the gate house to insurance to cleaning to maintenance to utilities) using private funds and the fees paid by visitors at the gate.  

The point of the shutdown is to close operations that spend government money.  The US Forest Service never closed public access to the land, so there is a legitimate question as to why private businesses operating under long-term lease with the US Forest Service had to close.  After all, if my landlord goes on a paid vacation, his tenants shouldn't have to close their businesses until he returns, should they?

djorkasnatch
djorkasnatch

Okay, I had to sign up just to comment on this one.

I agree with this a-hole this time.  The National Parks are owned by us.  The land is OURS, the government is the land's steward.

To shut down any park on any land owned by the American people is a slap in the face, it shows our own ignorance.

And you idiots are writing articles making fun of this guy, and all you other idiots are making dipshit comments about "republicants" and other trivial stuff.

To shut down any park owned by you and me, all of us, was a dick-slap in the face.  Why don't you write articles about that?  NOBODY IS (should be) ALLOWED TO SHUT THE PARKS!!!!!!!

The only reason anyone got away with this is because so many people have their heads so far up their ass they cannot realize YOU CANNOT "CLOSE" one of the seven wonders of the world.

Roger Morris
Roger Morris

How about I wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House with a few others likw Franks to SHUT DOWN the Government. Then VOTED to shut it down. Then ask for a fake investigation as to why 79 other GOP idiots and I wrote a letter to SHUT DOWN the Grand Canyon and Luke AFB

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Seems Tea Princess Paulie need look no further than the life sized picture of Ted Cruz he has in his office.  The parks were shutdown, just as they were when the GOP shutdown the government in the mid 90's.

NoReasonForShutdown
NoReasonForShutdown

All the "furloughed" workers get paid for the shutdown time once the "shutdown" is over.  Previous "shutdowns" have done this so no surprise there.  So since they are paid anyway, it makes no sense for them to "shutdown" (not work).  Any "shutdown" was totally vindictive and malicious on the part of the Obama administration since everyone knows they are going to back pay once it is over anyway.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

What if O personally order the parks to be shuttered? Does Gosar actually believe that part of the government should be exempt from the pain caused, exacerbated and prolonged by his party? Well, duh. He's a dentist. I wouldn't let him so much as look at my choppers, much less paint them with fluoride. Duh.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Yeah, turn over control of the Grand Canyon to Arizona and the Republican opportunists and see how fast it becomes the "Waste Management Canyon"  or the Wal-Canyon.

And just think of all the ads they could fit on the canyon walls.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Weee... Let's be a good Republicrook and waste even MORE of America's money, than you already wasted with the BS shutdown... 

The Republicrook mantra... if you can't earn it, steal it... if you can't steal it, waste it

The Tea Party Republicans, which is 99% of the Republicans you are hearing = The American Taliban

I sure wish some REAL REPUBLICANS would grow a spine and kick the extremists from your party.

If you don't, the Republicans won't see a new public office for the next 10 years....

RobAZ
RobAZ

@camprrm What does your contract say in regards to a shutdown?

RobAZ
RobAZ

@djorkasnatch Hey Dork, what did you have to say when the Arizona state legislature swept the funds from the State parks?  What did you say when the Arizona state legislature slashed the funding of the State parks and nearly every single state park was closed?  What do you say about the State of Arizona STILL not able to afford to have all their rest stops open?  4 years later and Arizona still cannot get a toilet to flush.  

Gosar is an idiot.

RobAZ
RobAZ

@NoReasonForShutdown Furloughed federal workers will receive back pay but those who work in the park for private concessionaires will not.  Unless you're thinking that it's park rangers that make your hot dog, sell you your t shirt, clean your campground, take you on a tour or serve you a meal in a restaurant.  You go tell them it's no big deal.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@NoReasonForShutdown Uh, the US House GOP shutdown the government.  And 90% of America agrees with me!

The parts were closed last time the GOP shutdown the government in the mid 90's, BTW.


And giving the workers their missed pay was due to a bill written by the GOP House!

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@NoReasonForShutdown 

Bullshit. 

The Republicans shut down the Govt., not Obama. 

Come out of the bubble, please, for your own sake.

RobAZ
RobAZ

@shadeaux14 Spot on.  Or maybe when the state hits it's next budget crunch or the next bagger representative decides to cut the state parks budget, we can have a repeat of 2009.  The year the legislature swept the parks fund, the year they slashed the parks budget; the year all our state parks were closed.

JustSayin
JustSayin

> If you don't, the Republicans won't see a new public office for the next 10 years....

Now that's not true, Flyer.  They can take tours just like everyone else.

djorkasnatch
djorkasnatch

Not saying Gosar is not an idiot.  Just saying I agree with this A-hole this time.

NoReasonForShutdown
NoReasonForShutdown

The private concessionaires were only shutout because the federal workers weren't there.  Since the Federal workers get paid anyway, there is no reason they couldn't be on duty, thereby allowing the private concessionaires in.  

In some cases there were federal workers on duty to specifically block and prevent private concessionaires from doing their thing (There was hotel in NC that is a good example).  If federal workers can be on duty to prevent concessionaires from their job, they could certainly be on duty to allow them to do their job instead.  Especially if the federal workers are getting paid later anyway.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows  

90% of America believes the media without thinking for themselves. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@WhoKnows 

Of course none of those FACTS matter to these people.. they must be Faux media watchers...

NoReasonForShutdown
NoReasonForShutdown

@Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown  

No matter who is to blame...Why should federal workers not work if they are getting paid anyway?  

The republicans are to blame.  Ok.  Fine. 

But why close parks or any other federal facility if they are just going to pay the park (and other federal) workers at a later time anyway?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown  

The Republicans stopped the cash flow temporarily and also offered a bill to specifically exempt the parks, but the Democrats wouldn't have it, because they wanted the shutdown to hurt the citizens as much as possible.

 

RobAZ
RobAZ

@djorkasnatch Agree on what, foolishness?

Who's going to get sued when idiots start falling off cliffs?  Arizona?  The Feds?  What  I do know is you and me will be paying for it.

Who's going to ensure that petroglyphs and ruins aren't desecrated, destroyed or vandalized?  Gosar?  You?

The idiots are the ones who think the parks are just a giant playground.

RobAZ
RobAZ

@NoReasonForShutdown Not a bright one, are you?  Besides the plainly obvious reasons why nobody should be in national park without proper management, they simply are not allowed in the park.  The private concessionaires were out because it is part of their contract.

As for the foolishness of the claim that "because they were getting paid anyways they should have just shown up". Right.  First, it violates the terms of their employment so they'd be out of a job.  Last I checked those were hard to come by.  Secondly, there was NO GUARANTEE they were going to be paid.  Yes, employees furloughed in prior shutdowns received back pay but that does not mean they were going to get it this time.  Given how screwed up the idiots in DC had things, nobody knew.  Would you work on 'maybe you'll get paid, maybe you won't'?  Finally, these were people who were last paid the first week of October.  And their pay for the time of the furlough will not be paid out until the end of October.  Essentially, they're going nearly a full month without a paycheck.  And these are not jobs that pay so well that missing a month's pay would be unnoticeable.

NoReasonForShutdown
NoReasonForShutdown

History has shown that they always write the bills that end the shutdowns to give back pay ...  showing the absurdity of "shutting down".  There have been many examples this time of cases where things (privately or state run) didn't need to shutdown.  The fact they they were shows malicious intent in an effort to increase political pressure on  the opposition.

All uneducated people want to blame republicans and give democrats a free pass. They are both to blame as neither side was being reasonable.  Both sides used the (bad) tools they had at their disposal. Democrats are so set on the (so-called) ACA, they don't care if it bankrupts the country.  They won't even make the small tweaks they admitted it needed when they first passed it.

For all those that say work within the system:  Both sides are working within the system for their own (lawmaker's) interest (not the people of the US interest). But, Just because someone works within the system doesn't mean it will be right (as we have all seen).  

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative @Hotch75 @NoReasonForShutdown  

You're wrong about a number of things here.

The Constitutional allocation of powers and the Congressional rules ensure that the majority can't always get their way if the minority is strongly motivated.   Check into a Civics course, yourself.  

The power of the purse strings is always separated from the passage of the bill.

Very few things in this world are as simple as you'd like to believe. You should have learned by this point in your life that you simply don't understand a lot of things.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753 @Hotch75 @NoReasonForShutdown 

Does not matter if it's substantial or not IT"S STILL A FUCKING MINORITY which means they get listened to second. 

I bet you are the fat kid on the team that after the game is done and finished you chime up that nope, you think that point #4 out of a 20 point game was actually a foul, so the entire game should be replayed, after you have already lost and if it doesn't get replayed, you are going to kick the ball into traffic on a freeway so that no one can then play. i.e. a 2yr old sore loser.

I know power of the purse strings, which were originally tied to the bill at passage, the Republicans separated them just to be able to hold hostages like this. Check your history, you will find I am right. 

God you need a civics 101 course.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative @Hotch75 @NoReasonForShutdown  

So you don't understand the word "substantial", either?   A substantial number can still be a minority, genius.

Look up "power of the purse strings".  The House was specifically given the power to scrap bills that have been passed by simply refusing to fund them.  This is an extension of that.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown

"You remain an idiot"

Clearly the other people reading these posts disagree with you and I'll listen to the majority opinion... I am not a republican idiot like you.

(yeah yeah you're an independent... bullshit)

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Hotch75 @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown

"They should negotiate because there is a substantial part of the population that wants them to negotiate."

NO, there was a MINORITY that wanted them to negotiate - well your minority LOST and the MAJORITY didn't want him to negotiate.

"Why do you idiots seem to think that "It's on the books" means that it's untouchable?"

NO ONE has said that, no matter how many times you attempt to put the words in our mouths.

You want to change the law, fine, but you don't get to hold the entire rest of the govt. hostage just to get what you want against the majority. THAT is not how the system works.

Part of living in a democracy is understanding you are not always going to get your way and respecting that, just like you expect the other side to do the same when the situation is reversed.

"Don't you have any clue as to how the government really works?" 

Clearly you don't.

"  Refusing to fund bills that have passed has ALWAYS been part of the way that Congress functions.  It was designed that way as part of the checks and balances."

Proof you don't know how our govt. works, since it has NOT always been that way. 

It used to be, and is supposed to be that when a bill is PASSED the funding for it is INCLUDED in the passage - it was not until the REPUBLICROOKS saw a way to use that as a hostage that the law was changed during a time the Republicans had a super majority, to require separate funding votes.

It's not the way it HAS been done and not the way it was DESIGNED to be done.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Hotch75 @valleynative @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown  

They should negotiate because there is a substantial part of the population that wants them to negotiate.  Why do you idiots seem to think that "It's on the books" means that it's untouchable?  Don't you have any clue as to how the government really works?   Refusing to fund bills that have passed has ALWAYS been part of the way that Congress functions.  It was designed that way as part of the checks and balances.

Hotch75
Hotch75

@valleynative @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown Why on GOD'S GREEN EARTH should Democrats have negotiated? Every time they "negotiate" the Republicans move the goal post. Fact: the ACA is a LAW ON THE BOOKS

Fact: If you don't like it win an ELECTION

Fact: Ted Cruz and the Tea Party did this shutdown because they did not get their way like a bunch of petulant children 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown 

No. Refusing funding of the ENTIRE government to get repealed a law that has passed both houses of congress and the supreme court is NOT a tactic that is within the framework of our govt. system. 

And that is what they did. Trying to say that they were willing to fund the govt. except for this LEGALLY PASSED LAW is terrorism.

If you think it is, you need to go back to civics classes.

They were the republican pet parks, since the ones that the Republicans wanted left open (it was not ALL of them) were the ones that had oil drilling programs on them, that benefit their republican backers.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative @NoReasonForShutdown  

The method they were using actually IS part of the framework of our system.  It's a tactic to try to bring the other side to the table to negotiate when they refuse.

The parks are not in any sense "pet things" of the Republicans.  What a silly thing to say.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753 @NoReasonForShutdown 

Again, Bullshit.

The Republicans shut the govt down as a hostage measure until they could repeal a LAW that has already survived constitutional and legal challenge. 

If the Repubs want the ACA repealed, fine, there are methods withing our framework of govt. to do that, but they have not been successful since the people want the ACA. 

Instead of respecting the system we have, working within it and respecting the will of the voter, the Republicans acted like terrorists with a hostage.

Why should their pet things stay open when they caused the pain? Shouldn't they feel the pain THEY caused? 

Grow up and start acting like adults instead of 2yr old terrorists, especially if you ever want to be relevant in American politics again.

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