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Committee approves memorials for Gulf War, John Adams in Washington

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Memorials in the nation's capital for John Adams and first Gulf War participants got another boost in their long struggle toward becoming reality. The House Committee on Natural Resources approved legislation authorizing their creation. The committee acted on Wednesday, April 9.

The committee approved by unanimous consent the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act (H.R. 503). The bill would authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to create a commemorative work on unspecified federal land in the District of Columbia to honor those in the armed services who participated in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. No federal funds could be used to build the memorial.

The committee agreed by unanimous consent to an amendment offered by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT). The amendment says that if the association raises more money than it needs to build the memorial, the extra funds would go into a fund operated by the National Park Foundation for memorials. The legislation originally called for any extra funds to go into an account managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Similar legislation failed to clear Congress in 2012. It was reintroduced in February 2013. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee (E&NR) already approved similar legislation.

The committee also approved by unanimous consent H.R. 3802, which would give the Adams Memorial Foundation until 2020 to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams. Authority expired last year, technically. This memorial would also go on unspecified federal land in Washington, DC. The committee also approved by unanimous consent a Bishop amendment dealing with any extra funds the foundation may raise, similar to the one he offered on the Gulf War memorial bill.

The bill was introduced last December. Congress initially authorized the memorial in 2001. Our first and third presidents, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, have dedicated memorials to them, so why not John Adams, our second president and political philosopher? Similar legislation is pending before E&NR.

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