Senators Propose Bill To Repay States After Shutdown

March 11, 2014

Four U.S. senators introduced a bill Tuesday that would repay states for using their own money to open national parks during last fall’s federal government shutdown.

During October’s shutdown six states advanced about $2 million to the National Park Service to reopen Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty and several other parks.

At a February hearing, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake asked the Department of Interior’s Rhea Suh about that money.

“The Park Service received a donation from states and then also retroactively received appropriations from Congress,” Suh said.

Flake responded: “Taxpayers in Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah essentially paid twice to operate the parks.”

At this same hearing Suh said the Interior Department would support legislation to reimburse the states. In Arizona, that amounts to $465,000.