A group of Religious Right organizations have taken a sudden interest in curbing government spending on national parks and public lands…all in the interest of stopping the creation of a museum dedicated to American women’s history.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is currently holding up a defense authorization bill that was passed last week in the House, contending that a public lands package attached to it is too pricey and doesn’t belong in a defense bill. While Coburn and Sen. Ted Cruz have objected to provisions in the bill designating new national wilderness areas, which Cruz calls an “extreme land grab,” they have garnered allies in the Religious Right who object to quite a different provision: the establishment of a bipartisan commission to start planning a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.
In a letter to members of the House last week, representatives of Concerned Women for America (CWA), Heritage Action, Eagle Forum, March for Life, and the American Family Association signed on to a letter with a handful of “small government” groups that oppose the creation of more public lands, urging lawmakers to strip the lands package from the defense bill.
Although the letter makes a generic nod to preventing the government from gaining “more ownership over America’s lands,” it goes on to object specifically to the women’s history museum provision, using language copied and pasted out of a recent CWA press release.
CWA and its allies have been trying for months to stop Congress from authorizing a planning committee for the women’s history museum, claiming that the museum would end up being a “shrine to liberal ideology, abortion and liberal advocates” and complaining that the museum’s website doesn’t mention CWA founder Beverly LaHaye.
Back in May, the groups failed to stop the House from passing a bill authorizing the planning committee, in part thanks to the efforts of the bill’s main Republican sponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who called their arguments “convoluted.” Heritage Action’s threat to score the women’s history vote against members of Congress ultimately only scared 33 Republicans into voting against it.