National Mall Won't be Stimulated

Democrats Strip National Mall from Stimulus Plan

WASHINGTON -- The National Mall will have to wait its turn.

House Democrats have removed $200 million from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package that would have been devoted to renovating the Mall.

The move comes after Republican lawmakers complained the expenditure was wasteful.

Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said Tuesday that the spending bill would stimulate big government, not the economy. Some are questioning parts of the stimulus package, saying it has more to do with pork-barrel politics than giving the economy a boost.

So what would have been done to the Mall?

Advocates said the 700-acre park suffers from a $350 million backlog on maintenance, including a sinking seawall around the Jefferson Memorial. They say an infusion of funding could immediately put people to work on repairs.

However, many opponents to the Mall's inclusion in the funds focused on one thing: grass.

"For every dollar (in the stimulus package) that is spent to help small businesses, $4 is being spent to help upkeep the grass on the lawns of Washington," said Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Republican Whip, during an interview with Fox News on Friday.

Politifact took him to task on that statement. In essence, they said he lied.

"... both sides of Cantor's equation are flawed. The plan does not call for $200 million worth of new grass for the National Mall, and we think there's clearly more than $41 million in help to small businesses."

But in the end, it looks like Cantor and Hensarling got their way. The Mall's disrepair will continue.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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