Saturday, January 12, 2013

Keep off the grass

The National Mall in DC recently underwent $16 million in renovation to a major portion of the turf, which had been battered by years of resident, tourist, and protester feet. Just as it gets to the finish, here come the inaugural crowds to stomp on it all over again.

What to do? Well, so goes the endless budget battle, so goes the grass...
For the inauguration, the section of the Mall with new turf has been placed under the control of two different committees — a presidential committee and a congressional committee. 
The National Park Service said the presidential committee plans to pay for the turf protection in its sector, which runs from Fourth Street to Seventh Street NW. 
But the congressional committee says it can’t pay for its portion, the area from Third Street to Fourth Street. It was told about the turf protection too late and has no money budgeted for it.

So, Congress apparently will stick the Park Service with the work of repairing any damage, claiming that since they weren't told until December, and that they are woefully deficient in the foresight and common sense department, they can't possibly cough up the $115,000 out of a budget of $1.23 million for their section of turf. Naming names: Boehner, Cantor, Alexander, Schumer, Pelosi and Reid. Given the fiscal irresponsibility of the first three, I'm guessing the last three didn't have much say in the matter.

Somehow the presidential committee can come up with $800,000 though. Interesting how one branch can find the will to pay the bills, isn't it?