What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H.R. 54. Congressional Gold Medal Program/Vote to Defeat an Amendment Increasing Number of Congressional Gold Medals that Congress Can Award in a Two-Year Period. (2005 house Roll Call 10)
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H.R. 54. Congressional Gold Medal Program/Vote to Defeat an Amendment Increasing Number of Congressional Gold Medals that Congress Can Award in a Two-Year Period.
house Roll Call 10     Jan 26, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House defeated an amendment by Joe Crowley (D-NY) to H.R. 54, a bill sponsored by Michael Castle (R-DE), that would implement new restrictions in the Congressional Gold Medal program. (The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor awarded by Congress to persons who perform great acts of service to the country.) H.R. 54 would limit the number of Congressional Gold Medals that could be awarded to two per year, and further would only permit the Medal to be awarded to individuals, not couples or groups. Crowley's amendment would have increased the number of Medals that could be awarded from the number set forth in H.R. 54 to six per each two-year Congress (Each two-year period beginning in January following congressional elections the previous November is considered a "Congress"), which he argued was only a minor change from the number specified in the bill. Crowley maintained that six per two years represented a small enough number to meet the Republicans' goals of preserving the prestige of the "highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress" (Michael Oxley, R-OH), and noted that many worthy past recipients would not have received the Medal if the restriction proposed by H.R. 54 had been in place at the time of their awards. Republicans countered that the small number of annual awards contained in H.R. 54 represented the necessary limit to contain a program that, like the commemorative coin program, had "spun out of control," and further noted that only 45 Congressional Gold Medals had been granted in the first 123 years of the United States's existence, but that "Congresses have awarded nearly 10 times that many in just 10 years." (Oxley.) Crowley's amendment was defeated by a nearly party-line vote of 189 to 212; thus, the restriction of Medal awards to two per year remained in the bill.

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