To authorize the Thomas Paine Memorial Association to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs STATEMENT OF KYM A. HALL, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 6720, TO AUTHORIZE THE THOMAS PAINE ASSOCIATION TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN WASHINGTON, DC, AND ITS ENVIRONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. JULY 14, 2022 Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 6720, a bill to authorize the Thomas Paine Association to establish a commemorative work in Washington, DC, and its environs, and for other purposes. The Department appreciates the significance of Thomas Paine’s influential writings during the American Revolution and the early years of the United States but recommends that the Committee defer action on this legislation until the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (Commission) has an opportunity to review the proposal. H.R. 6720 would authorize the establishment of a commemorative work to honor Thomas Paine in the Nation’s Capital. The bill requires compliance with the Commemorative Works Act (40 U.S.C. Chapter 89) (CWA), prohibits federal funds from being used to establish the memorial, and provides direction on the disposition of unspent funds. Best remembered for penning the Common Sense pamphlets in the era leading up to and during the American Revolution, Paine argued that the Colonists’ cause should be not just a revolt against taxation but a demand for independence. His great contribution to the patriot cause was the 16 “Crisis” papers issued between 1776 and 1783, each one signed “Common Sense.” He communicated the ideas of the American Revolution far and wide, creating prose that stirred the hearts of American colonists yearning for independence. Legislation authorizing a commemorative work to Thomas Paine was first enacted in 1992 (Public Law 102-407). Two years later, in 1994, Congress enacted a joint resolution allowing the memorial to be located in Area I, the monumental core reserved for memorials of “preeminent and lasting significance to the United States” under the CWA. The memorial was never built and the authorization for the memorial expired in 2003. Ideas for new memorials benefit greatly from the review they receive through the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. Established by the CWA, the Commission is chaired and staffed by the National Park Service and is composed of government agency representatives who have a critical role or expertise in the location and design of monuments and memorials on Federal lands in DC. A key role of the Commission is to provide advice to the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the National Park Service on pending legislation that would authorize new commemorative works. The Commission plans to review H.R. 6720 during its July 27, 2022 meeting. The purpose of this review is to determine whether the bill’s commemorative subject meets the requirements of the CWA. Although the proposal for a Thomas Paine memorial has been considered and approved in the past, it has been three decades since Congress first authorized this memorial, and the Department believes it is appropriate for the current Commission to take a fresh look at the new legislation for this proposal. The Commission’s views and recommendations will then be sent to the House and Senate authorizing committees. Chair Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.