Construction of the Washington, D.C. memorial to President Dwight Eisenhower, a process more than 10 years in the making, is at a major crossroads. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s (EMC) congressional authorization has expired, and Rep. Sam Bishop (R-UT), has introduced a bill to reauthorize it. But Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, is seeking major changes. The bill would withhold $100 million in funding and toss out Frank Gehry’s design for the memorial, starting over the whole process of design selection.
On Tuesday morning, the subcommittee held a hearing to discuss where the memorial should go from here. All but one of the five witnesses called to testify were critics of the current approach. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a member of the National Capital Planning Commission, which has to approve the design, argued against moving forward with Gehry’s scheme. Referring to criticism it has received from the Eisenhower family, Issa said, “This memorial cannot be built if it is inconsistent with the views of the people who knew [President Eisenhower] best.”