2006-05-31 / Features

Schumer Action Clears Way To Open Liberty's Crown

Taking a decisive stance, United States Senator Charles Schumer pushed through an addition to the immigration bill passed by the Senate on Monday which orders the National Park Service (NPS) to reopen the Statue of Liberty crown to visitors.

"This will force the Parks Service to act," Schumer declared.

Tourists had been barred from the crown of the statue since 9/11 because NPS officials said it was not safe to have tourists climbing the narrow stairways to the crown.

Although Liberty Island was reopened to tourists and visitors last year because of constant pressure from Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn), the NPS was adamant in keeping the crown closed.

Weiner thought he had prevailed on the issue when he was successful in adding an

amendment last week to an appropriations bill which gave NPS $1 million to reopen the crown.

The amendment did not pass, which brought Schumer into the fray on Weiner's side. The NPS still resisted, so Schumer got the legislation passed that clearly directed the NPS to open the crown.

However, since the Senate immigration bill faces tough sledding in the House, which has passed a much different bill, it remains to be seen whether a compromise bill will pass. If it doesn't, Schumer's effort on Monday may go for naught.

If it does, he said, he'll introduce an amendment which copies Weiner's language and tack it on to an appropriations bill as Weiner did and get it passed.

-John Toscano

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