A North Carolina member of the U.S. House of Representatives has stepped into a duck mess, after complaining that ramps built to help ducklings get into Capitol Reflecting Pools in Washington DC are a waste of taxpayer dollars.
U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro first criticized the so called duck ramps on Twitter, noting: “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be government waste.”
Walker has said little else about the matter, but that hasn’t stopped social media and a Capitol spokeswoman from appearing to come to the defense of the ramps.
“The Capitol Reflecting Pool has been a popular attraction – for ducks and humans!" Capitol spokeswoman Erin Courtney wrote in a blog post this week. But, “some ducklings have trouble climbing out of the pool or returning to it once out of the water.”
So ramps were built.
Coverage of the duck controversy has so far omitted an actual cost for the ramps. An article in The Hill reported the ramps were built in collaboration with City Wildlife, a nonprofit organization that helps sick and injured animals in Washington. But government employees were involved in the project, too, it reported.
The Web site Mashable.com says Walker’s “ridiculous tweet” has so far garnered 1,600 responses, most of them sarcastic and partisan (Walker is a Republican). Several critics dubbed Walker “the guy who hates ducklings.”
“Next up: puppies, rainbows and mini muffins,” tweeted someone named Noelle.
“For too long, ducks have had a free ride in this country. This ends today,” tweeted CBC radio produce Matthew Lazin-Ryder.
The New York Times says the ramps were installed Monday and the controversy erupted before the paint was dry. “This is happening in Washington, after all, so it may not surprise you to hear that the duck ramps were controversial,” said the article.