Roll Call ($) notes that in the waning days of this Congress, the House Republican leadership attempted to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Lady Margaret Thatcher. However, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) objected to consideration of the legislation, thereby effectively blocking it:
Iron Lady, Dissed. What a kick in the pants, or the skirt, as the case may be, to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
A revised floor schedule for Wednesday was sent out advising, “H.R. 6136 — Margaret Thatcher Congressional Gold Medal Act HAS BEEN PULLED.”
The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), noted that among her accomplishments, Thatcher’s “close friendship with the United States led to a potent foreign policy partnership that contributed to the end of Soviet communism.”
A GOP leadership source told HOH that the reason the bill was pulled was because Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) objected to it.
Frank explained to HOH in a telephone chat that he opposed giving Thatcher a gold medal because the bill “hadn’t gone through the regular rules” procedure and, frankly, it “was being used by Republicans for partisan purposes. She was a very conservative person.”
Frank also objected in 2004 to giving a gold medal to former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, whose People’s Party lost the 2004 elections in the aftermath of the March 11 terrorist bomb attacks in Madrid, Spain. Well, since Aznar lost, Frank argued: “Let’s give him a silver medal, since he finished second.”
“There is no silver medal of course,” Frank said Wednesday, recalling how his smart-aleck amendment was shot down. The point is, he said, “I don’t think the Congressional Gold Medal ought to be used to make political points.”
The legislation is sponsored by more than a majority of House members (239 - the great majority of whom are Republicans). Is Lady Thatcher deserving? Judge for yourself - the list of recipients is here.
I'm not sure what 'political points' are scored by honoring a towering international figure whose leadership helped end the Cold War, particularly after an election, when few are paying attention. Does Mr. Frank think that Congressman Kirk will use this as a springboard to the Presidency?
If this is the wrong time to award this medal, outside of 'regular rules,' can we count on Mr. Frank to push for prompt consideration in the next Congress? After all, he'll be the next chair of the committee of jurisdiction, and will be in a position to guarantee that the rules are followed.
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