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Edwin Fountain, a key member of the World War I Foundation pushing the legislation, said the D.C. memorial on the Mall is the most appropriate site to honor all of the war’s veterans, but an alternate location is “better than having no national memorial.”

Mr. Fountain said Mr. May’s testimony presented a rather “lawyerly” view of the act that restricts construction or site changes on the mall.

“I believe that what we’re proposing fits within the act,” he said. “Other than the courts, Congress can interpret its own statute.”

Mr. Fountain said he hopes Congress “does something sooner rather than later” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the conflict, “or else we’re going to miss the opportunity to do anything in conjunction with the centennial.”