Several people testified after Susan Eisenhower. Defending Gehry’s design and the qualifications-based process used to select him were speakers for the National Park Service, the General Services Administration, and the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Those opposed included representatives from the National Civic Art Society, the National Monuments Foundation, and Bruce Cole, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Included in the testimony was a letter from Gehry, who according to an Associated Press report, wrote, "my only intent is to celebrate and honor this world hero and visionary leader," and indicated that he was open to further revisions of the design. Susan Eisenhower said a redesign would "not preclude talking to Mr. Gehry about being the person to do that."
A spokesman for the commission estimated that it would take two to three years and cost $16 million or more to go back to the drawing board.
At the start of the hearing, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) expressed concern that he and his fellow legislators did not have expertise in the arts, so shouldn’t wade into a matter "well outside our purview." "Art is always controversial," he noted, a sentiment later echoed by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.).
But later, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who chairs the subcommittee that held the hearing, observed that 8 out of 12 members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission are, in fact, members of Congress. "I certainly hope Congress does have some expertise in this area," he said. "Otherwise, we’re all screwed."
Gehry’s design, projected to cost $112 million to build, awaits approval from the National Capital Planning Commission.