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Eisenhower Family Wants New DC Memorial Design

According to figures provided to The Associated Press, about $22.2 million remains unspent in the federal Eisenhower Memorial Commission's bank account from $30.9 million allocated by Congress in the 2012 fiscal year for design and construction.

About $8.7 million has been committed for design work preparing for construction.

The commission's annual operating cost is about $1.2 million, though Susan Eisenhower told lawmakers that funding should be eliminated. The project should be simplified and less expensive, she said.

"We are, again, back in a period of austerity, much like the 1950s after World War II," she said, noting Eisenhower managed several balanced federal budgets. "A memorial that is so grandiose and so large in scale sort of misses the point of what his story can offer the American public."

Retired Brig. Gen. Carl Reddel, the executive director of the memorial commission, told lawmakers that Congress had a strong role in the project since it created the commission with four House and four Senate members, as well as four presidential appointees. He said they have worked hard to reflect Eisenhower's legacy as president and war general in the design.

"The historical record suggests that great, iconic architecture is always controversial," he said. There were disputes over memorializing George Washington with an obelisk and over the designs for memorials honoring Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, he told lawmakers.

Several lawmakers weighed in, though, and weren't satisfied there was enough progress in resolving differences over the design.

The memorial will likely never be completed in its current form, said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, "because it never will be funded in its current form." He said it would be out of place among the memorials to Lincoln, Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Bishop, who called the hearing, said he still supports completion of a national memorial to Eisenhower, though he said the current project had become "a monument to a designer with a theme about President Eisenhower."

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