This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Democratic National Committee jumped on Sen. Mike Lee's comments Tuesday about World War II veterans being shut out of visiting national monuments because of the government shut down, noting that it was Lee who claims credit for the budget stand off that led to the closure.
Lee took to the Senate floor Tuesday to explain the plight of two Honor Flights carrying the veterans who had landed to a shuttered Washington where the WWII Memorial was barricaded by temporary fencing.
"We've got at least two Honor Flights coming in from around the country bringing World War II veterans, members of the greatest generation, to who plan to visit the World War II Veterans Memorial, a memorial designed specifically for them," Lee said. "When they arrive, if nothing changes between now and then, they'll painfully discover what we've learned this morning, which is that those parts of the national mall have been fenced off and barricaded. They won't be able to get in. They won't be able to get very close. This is unfortunate, and just as important, it is unnecessary."
(For the record, the vets actually pushed through the three-foot-high fencing and entered the memorial today.)
The DNC says its hypocritical that Lee would complain about the impacts of the government closure when he's bragged about starting the effort to tie funding for the Affordable Care Act to funding the government, a move that eventually led to the shut down that began Tuesday.
"It's outrageous that one of the instigators of the shutdown is bemoaning its effects," said DNC National Press Secretary Michael Czin. "He's clearly part of the problem and he's one of the leaders of the party that caused the shutdown."
Lee spokesman Brian Phillips brushed off the criticism.
"Sen. Lee is currently working on funding bills that keep our national parks open and will submit them soon to end the government shutdown," Phillips said. "We hope these comments are an indication that Sen. [Harry] Reid and Senate Democrats will support the bill."Thomas BurrTwitter.com/thomaswburr