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McCollum Statement on Decision to Use Park Fees for President Trump's "Salute to America" Event

July 3, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement today after reports that the Department of Interior is using $2.5 million in National Park entrance fees to fund President Trump’s “Salute to America” event:

“Using National Park entrance fees to pay for this display of pageantry is absolutely outrageous,” Rep. McCollum said. “I disagreed with Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to use these fees during the prolonged federal government shutdown – the legality of which the Government Accountability Office is currently reviewing – and I disagree with his decision to use them now. These fees are not a slush fund for this administration to use at will. They are meant to improve our national parks, keep them safe and protected for Americans to enjoy, and are clearly not to be used for a political rally.

“Further, it is unbelievable that Congress – specifically the Appropriations Committee – was not informed of this use of taxpayer dollars before it was reported publicly. Mr. Trump’s event is on federal grounds. The National Mall belongs to all of us. I’m prepared to use my full oversight authority as Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Committee to determine how this decision was made and hold the responsible parties accountable. This administration needs to be reminded that the power of the purse belongs to Congress.”

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