WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate voted to reopen the Statue of Liberty's crown, which has been off limits to the public since Sept. 11, 2001, because of terrorism fears.
Sens. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, added an amendment to a larger immigration bill Thursday requiring the Department of the Interior, the United States' main conservation agency, to reopen the stairs leading up to the crown within 60 days of the bill's passage.
"For too long, it has cast a long shadow over New York Harbor as those who wanted to climb up the stairs and see the spectacular view through her crown were turned away," Schumer said.
The famous spiral stairway, however, may remain off limits; the House has not approved such a measure, and many lawmakers doubt the two chambers can reconcile opposing immigration bills.
The U.S. government has already spent nearly $20 million (euro15.68 million) in security and safety improvements at the site.
The statue sits on 12-acre (4.86-hectare) Liberty Island in New York Harbor. When the National Park Service reopened it in 2004, the public was allowed only as far up as the pedestal on which the statue stands to peer up into the structure.