Editorial: Reopen Hoover quickly
Op-Ed · October 04, 2013

The federal government shutdown that engulfed the Hoover Complex here sends a message from Washington that Congressional leaders seem more concerned about grandstanding than negotiating.

Between the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum and the Hoover National Historic Site, 33 employees, at the time of this writing, are barred from their duties. They have turned in their keys, given up their equipment and even been blocked from accessing their e-mails until elected officials in D.C. can find a compromise.

But the news from Washington is not promising on that front. Both Republicans and Democrats seem equally stubborn.

Meanwhile, the Hoover Complex, as this paper goes to press, is surrounded by barricades, keeping cars and pedestrians out. Only a few lights are on inside the buildings and on the grounds. A few “essential” employees are on hand to provide security and keep things in working order, but no one is there to welcome dozens who daily pull off the interstate on a whim, or who have planned a vacation, or who want to bring a busload of schoolchildren to share a big part of Iowa’s rich culture.

Sorry, but Congress has declared that one of the biggest tourism draws in West Branch and Iowa must be shuttered until the haggling can end. It is not the biggest concern for our state — Women, Infants and Children food checks are halted as well — but the shutdown is real for the employees who serve at the park and library.

Meanwhile, Hoover Complex staffers — even the “essential” ones — will not get paid until a new continuing resolution is passed. It is hard to understand how one can be considered “essential,” continue working, but not qualify for their own paycheck.

The shutdown is unacceptable. Somehow, our Congressional leaders must be held accountable. But most of all, we need to get the Hoover Complex reopened immediately.

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