- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2000

From combined dispatches

A plan to build a monument to former President Ronald Reagan on the Mall between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial was approved yesterday by the House Resources Committee.

The idea, proposed by Chairman Don Young, Alaska Republican, was given the go-ahead by voice vote. The bill now goes to the full House.

"I appreciate that my fellow Republicans voted to stop this effort to deny future generations the opportunity to recognize the tremendous contributions of this great American leader," Mr. Young said.

The Ronald Reagan Recognition Act sets up a three-member memorial commission that would consist of the chairman of the National Capital Memorial Commission, who is appointed by the president, plus appointees of the House speaker and the Senate majority leader.

Under the bill, Congress would approve a precise location for the monument and a marker at least 3 feet square would be set up that designates it as the "Future Site of the Ronald Reagan Memorial." The secretary of the Interior would be required to maintain that marker until the monument is built, dedicated and opened to the public.

The new commission would raise private funds to design, build and maintain the monument to the 89-year-old former president.

The National Capital Memorial Commission rejected the idea earlier this month.

Speaking for the majority, Rep. James V. Hansen, Utah Republican, chairman of the House subcommittee on national parks and public lands, described Mr. Reagan as "one of the most influential men of the 20th century," and said, "This bill honors a great American who deserves a national tribute."

Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, California Democrat, said the former president deserves the honor and is an example to American children of what they can achieve. Still, she voted against the memorial.

"Ronald Reagan was from my state," she said. "I would love to have something that would more adequately define him as a governor and a president."

The memorial commission's chairman, John G. Parsons, who represents the National Park Service, said it would contradict the 14-year-old Commemorative Works Act, which says no memorial to an individual should be approved until 25 years after the person's death.

Last year the commission and two others the Fine Arts Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission agreed not to approve any new monument on the Mall. That accord would be overridden if Mr. Young's bill becomes law and Congress approves a site.

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