Republicans are keeping tourists from the grandeur of Yosemite — on its 123rd birthday, no less. Democrats are preventing World War II veterans from visiting their own memorial. No one, it seems, can agree on if or how to fund the government or who’s to blame for the shutdown, but everyone wants credit for defending your right to go to the park.
Thanks to the shutdown, all national parks are closed, and they have become perhaps the foremost example of a dysfunctional government’s cost to the average citizen.
At the World War II Memorial, dozens of veterans barged through barriers Tuesday to visit their states’ pillars. Among those claiming credit for helping the heroes access their tribute site: Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., Steve King, R-Iowa, and Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. Most Republicans at the site blamed Senate Democrats for the memorial’s closure. The National Republican Congressional Committee took it a step further, sending out an email list-building petition that used the veterans to blame Democrats.
Republicans aren’t the only ones who have found parks politically potent. “Yosemite National Park is lonely on its 123rd birthday, thanks to the #GOPShutdown,” tweeted Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. The Democratic Party issued its own blame to the GOP for Yosemite’s closure.
As the shutdown fight drags on, it seems likely parks will remain at the center of the battle. The House is set to vote on a bill to restore funding to the national parks, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Senate Democrats seem unlikely to accept any measure except full government funding, so expect another round of the blame game when the House measure dies in the upper chamber.
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Investigations are never far from the Clintons, and here's another: At the behest of "dozens" of Republican lawmakers, the IRS is opening a fraud investigation into the Clinton Foundation."The move signals a shift from the IRS's announcement last year that it would not look into allegations of financial irregularities at the well-connected charity."
"Bickering commissioners, ineffective managers and lousy internal communication rank among the top reasons why the Federal Election Commission" has some of the worst morale in the federal government. That's the conclusion of an inspector general's report, which put "the most blame on the FEC’s six commissioners: three Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees who have regularly criticized one another and frequently (but not exclusively) deadlocked on high-profile political issues before them."
On Tuesday, Dennis Williams, the president of the United Auto Workers, said that Hillary Clinton has told him that she will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if elected president. Trade deals, especially NAFTA, have played a prominent role in the campaign, with Clinton receiving heat both from her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and GOP nominee Donald Trump. The Clinton campaign did not comment on Williams's comments, though that didn't stop the Trump campaign from weighing in. Hillary Clinton "will never renegotiate Bill Clinton's NAFTA," said Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to Trump.
"The Labor Department announced Tuesday that federal contractors had shorted 674 Senate cafeteria workers to the tune of $1 million. Two companies, Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, violated the law by misclassifying workers into lower-paying positions and having them work off the clock, the agency said." The department is looking into whether to renew the contracts.
"American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have 'high confidence' that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence. But intelligence agencies have cautioned that they are uncertain whether the electronic break-in at the committee's computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage—of the kind the United States also conducts around the world—or as part of an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election." WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange "has made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the presidency."