Anti-Spending Texas Lawmaker Proposes George Bush National Park

Just surveying the property will cost up to $25,000.
Tue March 5, 2013 2:45 pm
AP Images | Tony Gutierrez

U.S. Representative Mike Conaway (R- Tex.) is not a fan of federal spending, unless it's to commemorate his close buddy and former employee, George W. Bush. A review by ThinkProgress found that Conaway privately requested that the George W. Bush childhood home be surveyed as a potential addition to the National Park Service.

The Midland Republican wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the end of last year, ThinkProgress reported, asking for a "reconnaissance survey" of the Bush home to see whether it had promise as a park site. Conaway was the chief financial officer of Bush's failed oil company, Exploration, in the eighties. He and Bush "developed a lasting friendship" and together "learned what it takes to run a business," Conaway's official bio says.

The Bushes lived in the Midland home at 1412 West Ohio Avenue from 1951 to 1955. George W. Bush "has expressed fond memories" of this childhood home, according to the home's website . In Conaway's letter to Salazar, he said the study would be "on behalf of proud Texans who wish to see the home of two American presidents elevated to national status and become part of the National Park System," the Abilene Reporter-News reported.

A new National Park would mean "a new annual cost added to the Park Service budget," ThinkProgress noted. And the survey itself could cost up to $25,000, the Reporter-News wrote.

Conaway has consistently run on an anti-spending platform, calling for Congress to make "tough choices" and advocating "No New Programs" legislation, according to his bio. In a blog post for the Houston Chronicle last week, Conaway wrote that although the recent sequester cuts are not preferable, they are necessary. "I urge the administration and agency leaders to work with the House to identify wasteful spending and to create a more efficient and fiscally responsible federal government," he concluded.

Though ThinkProgress acknowledged that "protecting important historical landmarks and other public lands is hardly wasteful spending," the publication found Conaway's proposition "ironic."

The National Park Service will begin the survey by this summer.

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