Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee with subpoena authority and oversight of D.C. affairs, announced last week that he was in the process of requesting documents from the GSA that would illuminate how the search was conducted. As a voting member of the NCPC, Issa also indicated that he would not vote in favor of the Gehry proposal at the July 12 meeting, if it happens.
Other lawmakers have also spoken about the need, above all else, for “consensus” among the commissioners and the Eisenhower family.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has said that in light of testimony before the panel of which he is chairman — the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands — he was prepared to ask appropriators to withhold money for the project.
And Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the ranking member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment that allocates Eisenhower Memorial Commission funding, said last week that he sided with the family and asked the commission to slow down.
But in a joint statement today, Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) — two senior members of the commission — reiterated the necessity of time.
“We appreciate that Frank Gehry has been extremely open to listening to the concerns of all stakeholders in the evolution of his handsome design,” they said. “We want to make sure that any outstanding questions are answered as the process moves forward. We look forward to working with the Department of Interior to accomplish this while avoiding additional costs and excessive delays that would deny our nation’s dwindling population of World War II veterans the opportunity to experience the memorial in their lifetimes.”
Inouye, a World War II veteran, hinted at the significance for him that this memorial is built soon when he spoke at a public meeting of the commission in May.
“Time is of the essence,” Inouye said. “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.”
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.