Republican members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation set their sights squarely on a takedown of the administration during a hearing Thursday to consider a series of bills responding to the closure of public lands during the government shutdown.
Measures to give states more authority over public lands were the main focus of the hearing, but the discussion devolved at times into attacks on President Obama.
"I see this government today as King George and his lords around him," said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, the author of a bill to give states a greater role in managing federal lands. "The American people have become the serfs, because we have to respond to the agencies. The president of the United States believes he's a monarch. Shame on America."
Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, started the barrage with a critique of big government. "Large, centralized, bureaucratic entities don't work; they don't move us forward," Bishop said in his opening statement.
There were some moments of togetherness. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., sponsor of a measure directing the federal government to reimburse states for costs incurred in reopening national parks during the shutdown, applauded Democrats for supporting his legislation and indicated a willingness to reach across the aisle to strengthen bipartisan consensus on the issue.