Flap just received notice from DC that Senator Russ Feingold is releasing his hold on this bill because it means so much to Mrs. Nancy Reagan.
The 40th President of the United States Ronald Wilson Reagan
The House of Representatives today passed a bill by Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties) to honor President Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The bill passed on a 371-19 vote, with one Member voting present.
The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act would create an 11-member commission that will plan and carry out activities deemed fitting to honor Ronald Reagan on his 100th birthday, which will be on Feb. 6, 2011.
The commission will make recommendations and provide necessary assistance for federal, state and local governmental agencies and civic groups to honor Reaganâ€™s 100th birthday. Such activities could include special stamps or coins. In addition, the commission will recommend to Congress activities to honor Reaganâ€™s 100th birthday, including the possible convening of a Joint Session of Congress.
No federal money can be spent on the commission or its activities.
â€œâ€˜The Great Communicatorâ€™ spoke for the American people, capturing the hearts of small-town citizens and world leaders alike,â€ Gallegly told his colleagues before the vote today. â€œCalifornia enjoyed an economic resurgence during his terms as governor, and as President of the United States his legacy is extraordinary: In eight short years as President, Ronald Reagan presided over international changes and ushered in unparalleled peace and prosperityâ€”not only for our nation, but for the world.â€
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is in Simi Valley, CA, Galleglyâ€™s hometown.
Previous commissions have been instituted to honor Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln.
So, why is Democrat Senator Feingold blocking the bill or better yet holding the bill hostage?
Politics – Feingold wants to drive his own agenda and amend a non-controversial bill.
Republicans are trying to pass legislation in the next few weeks to kick off the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reaganâ€™s birth, and the only hurdle appears to be Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who is refusing to let the Senate vote on the bill.
Feingoldâ€™s decision to block passage of a bipartisan commission to celebrate the former presidentâ€™s 100th birthday has nothing to do with antagonism toward the conservative icon. But he does want to use the momentum behind the bill to drive legislation of his own.
â€œSen. Feingold has no interest in blocking this bill,â€ said a Feingold spokesman, referring to the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act. â€œHe wants to offer an amendment to it, but that request was blocked by a Republican Senator.â€
Feingoldâ€™s amendment would establish two commissions to study the internment and restrictions of German and Italian Americans and Jewish refugees during World War II, and it is unrelated to the Reagan bill. The Reagan measure would establish a commission to plan federal and state celebrations around Reaganâ€™s centennial birthday in February 2011.
Feingoldâ€™s spokesman said that the noncontroversial bill would be a good vehicle for the internment amendment, which he said is also noncontroversial.
Supporters of the Reagan commission question Feingoldâ€™s motives for blocking a bill that passed the House 371-19 on March 9.
Ryan Patmintra, a spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), said if Feingoldâ€™s amendment is truly noncontroversial, he should simply go through the regular committee process and move it to the Senate floor.
â€œIt should have no problem passing through the Judiciary Committee where Democrats have a 12-seat majority,â€ Patmintra said. â€œSen. Feingold has decided to hold this bill hostage using his ownâ€ amendment.
On May 11, Kyl rejected a request by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on behalf of Feingold to attach the Wartime Treatment Study Act to the Reagan commission bill.
A GOP aide said some Senate Democrats were not comfortable with Feingoldâ€™s amendment.
â€œThatâ€™s why he wants to attach it. [The Reagan bill] is a commission that everybody supports,â€ the aide said.
Representative Gallegly is not pleased.
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), the billâ€™s lead sponsor in the House, said the commissionâ€™s funding has been restructured and that private donors have been found to pay for the Reagan tributes, which are likely to cost millions of dollars.
â€œI didnâ€™t question their motives,â€ Gallegly said. â€œWe got all the funding struck from it and passed it out of committee with overwhelming support.â€
He added, â€œIn a matter of a week we got 140 co-sponsors.â€
Gallegly said he had hoped to have the legislation passed in time for the unveiling of Reaganâ€™s statue in the Rotunda on June 3, since former first lady Nancy Reagan will be attending the ceremony.
Gallegly said it would be a shame â€œto have her here and not to be able to do these things concurrently [because] of folly about what should be simple.â€
Clearly, this is grandstanding partisan politics by Feingold.
The left-wing Democrat Senator should really cut the crap, unblock the bill and move on to moving his own bill forward.
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