The family planning funds were not the only monies Obama asked the House to strike from the stimulus bill on the heels of GOP carping; the $200 million National Mall revitalization fund was also removed.
During the election the Obama campaign always prided itself on leaving every venue he visited better off than how they found it. Such moves helped foster local appreciation and (hopefully) votes. Inauguration was like the final, and largest, campaign event and much of this money would have help undo the damage 1.8 million people trampling across the Mall caused and restore the mall to its original glory. I liked to think of the National Mall revitalization fund as Obama leaving this last campaign setting better than he found it, though, maybe spending nearly a third as much as Obama raised during the entire campaign is a bit excessive. But the Mall is rather bigger than all of his other venues and in more need of repair.
Anyone who has been to DC has seen the sandy paths ringing the reflecting pool and the Japanese cherry trees. Park staff is cognizant that people like to walk along the water and between the famed trees, but they have not had the funds to put in actual paved paths. Softball games on the Ellipse often turn into mini dust storms as the sad, balding grass provides little cover for the fields. I’m sure that there are much more deserving economic stimuli that are in the package, but I do hope that Congress will one day appropriate the money to restore the Mall. For better or worse it is one of the most visited places in the country and one of the more neglected. In the meantime if anyone wants to help, there’s a private group raising money to restore the Mall.