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 on Final Passage of Bill to Implement New Restrictions in the Congressional Gold Medal Program. (2005 house Roll Call 13)
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H.R. 54. Congressional Gold Medal Program/Vote on Final Passage of Bill to Implement New Restrictions in the Congressional Gold Medal Program.
house Roll Call 13     Jan 26, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House passed 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. Progressives and many other Democrats were upset that the Republican-sponsored rule governing debate of this legislation prohibited consideration of what they viewed as a reasonable amendment by Crowley (D-NY) to continue to permit the Medal to be granted to couples or groups when warranted. In addition, they argued that other restrictions imposed by the bill would be too narrow, and that had such restrictions been in place at an earlier date, many worthy individuals and groups who have received the Medal would not have been able to do so. Republicans countered that not only was the governing rule a fair one because Crowley was allowed to offer two other amendments, but in addition, the legislation was necessary because the prestige of the Congressional Gold Medal program, the "highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress" (Michael Oxley, R-OH), was becoming diluted due to the abundance of medals awarded in recent years. On January 26, 2005, the House voted 231 to 173 to pass the legislation, thus helping to establish early a tone of partisan bitterness: "Unfortunately, the bipartisan spirit that has characterized the House's consideration of gold medals in the past has not carried over to the debate on this bill. . . . Does this action foretell what lies ahead in terms of the existence of bipartisanship throughout this Congress?" (Joe Crowley (D-NY).) (Each two-year period beginning in January following congressional elections the previous November is considered a "Congress.")

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