Rocco Siciliano, the chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, said in a statement that he was “saddened by Congressman Bishop’s attempt to thwart the memorialization of one of America’s greatest Generals and Presidents” and that the bill “insults” the efforts of the past 14 years to make the monument a reality.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a member of the commission, also expressed disappointment last week: “I don’t think you want to eviscerate 12 years and $30 million worth of planning,” he told CQ Roll Call.
“It has the support of quite a few Kansas governors and our entire delegation, and the commission has done a lot of work,” Roberts added. Eisenhower was raised in the Sunflower State.
And Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects, suggested Bishop’s proposal was tantamount to letting Congress “exercise governmental authority in a wholly arbitrary manner that negates the stated selection process.”
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz. — the ranking member on Bishop’s National Resources subcommittee this year and last — in 2012 shared some of Ivy’s concerns, specifically that it might be inappropriate for Congress to “start legislating and directing to the commission.”
But last week, Grijalva said that apart from eliminating federal funding, Bishop’s bill was an appropriate course of action, one that would continue to empower the commission while giving it the push it a needed push.
“If I had to choose, I would ask them to accelerate [the process] without taking the authority away from them,” said Grijalva of the commissioners, rather than continuing to “hold [the project] up with no resolution in sight.”
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, who was a member of the commission before his death, would have agreed at least with Bishop and Grijalva’s assessment that the monument needs to be built as soon as possible.
“Time is of the essence,” Inouye said in May 2012. “There is a national interest in making sure this monument is completed to remind the next generation of Americans what America has gone through and the great leaders we’ve had.”
One of Congress’ last remaining World War II veterans, Inouye died seven months later.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.