An online petition is demanding that Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) apologize to the National Park Service ranger he confronted earlier this week over the closed World War II Memorial.
Entrance to the memorial has been blocked off to the general public since the government shut down at midnight Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Neugebauer confronted the ranger in the middle of a crowd of tourists as she was keeping most of the public out of the closed World War II memorial, an exchange first reported by News4's Mark Segraves.
"How do you look at them and... deny them access?" Neugebauer asked the ranger.
"It's difficult," responded the Park Service employee.
"Well, it should be difficult," replied the congressman, who was carrying a small American flag in his breast pocket.
He, along with most House Republicans, had voted early Sunday to pass a funding measure that would delay the Affordable Care Act, a vote that set up a showdown with the Senate and President Barack Obama. With the parties unable to agree on how to fund the federal government, non-essential government functions shut down Tuesday.
"It is difficult," repeated the Park Service employee. "I'm sorry, sir."
"The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," the congressman said.
"I'm not ashamed," replied the ranger.
An online petition at change.org, reported earlier by DCist.com, reads in part:
Randy Neugebauer, Representative (Republican- Texas 19th District) rebuked a U.S. Park Service Ranger for carrying out orders and did so in a very public way that makes it look like the Represertaitive [sic] of TX's 19th doesn't understand how public law and chain of command works by incorrectly interfering in the duties of his fellow public empolyee [sic].
On Wednesday, a crowd of onlookers also confronted Neugebauer, cutting into his exchange with the park ranger.
"This woman is doing her job, just like me," shouted another. "I'm a 30-year federal veteran -- I'm out of work."
The man, wearing a bicycle helmet, stepped up to be face-to-face with the congressman.
"Well, the reason you are is because Mr. Reid decided to shut down the government," responded Neugebauer, referring to the top Senate Democrat.
"No, it's because the government won't do its job and pass a budget," the bicyclist responded.
"The House did its job; it passed appropriations. The Senate hasn't," said another voice from the crowd. Neugebauer walked away at that point.
The online petition had slightly more than 1,100 signatures around 2:40 p.m. Friday.
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