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house Bill H.R. 431

Should Congress Award Their Highest Honor To Those Who Fought For Voting Rights?

Argument in favor

The Foot Soldiers who fought against voting discrimination are the reason all Americans can participate in the democratic processes that defines our nation. They deserve the highest honor.

Steven's Opinion
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12/18/2015
It needs to be recognized and acknowledged so we don't have to repeat it.
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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01/20/2016
They should be awarded for what they have done for their community, the ability to vote is such a big deal, as they can get their voices heard.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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01/18/2016
These people pushed for equality and deserve the very highest honor and respect we can give them.
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Argument opposed

Awarding a Gold Medal to Foot Soldiers discounts the contributions of other people and organizations that contributed to the Voting Rights Movement

GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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08/09/2015
Politicians love this stuff for gaining votes. Do your job and run the country, defend the Constitution and stop wasting time with this crap. Next will be Cecil the lion. Of course you'll continue to ignore Planned Parenthood selling baby parts.
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Curmudgeon's Opinion
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08/01/2015
What personal risk comparable to storming a beach head did this entail? Gimme a break?
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Brad's Opinion
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05/01/2015
That is in the past and is not a good use in resources as we as a country are trying to balance the budget.
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What is House Bill H.R. 431?

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can grant to a civilian. It is awarded to those whose achievements influenced the nation’s history.


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Movement and the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this bill would prompt Congress to award a Gold Medal to those who fought against racial discrimination in voting. This includes those who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965.


The bill also acknowledges America’s history of discrimination in voting; its first section outlines the actions taken by voting rights activists and the violent actions employed to stop them. If passed, the Medal will be specially designed and displayed at the Selma Interpretative Center in Selma, AL.  

Impact

People who fought in the events leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, families and descends of people who fought for voting rights

Cost of House Bill H.R. 431

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable

More Information

In Depth:

In addition to the Voting Rights Act, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday —  when over 525 peaceful marchers were violently assaulted by state police on a march from Selma to Montgomery. The youngest demonstrator in the crowd, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was 15 years old. In an interview about her memoir, she recalls

"On Bloody Sunday I was very near, very near the front. I was, like, in the 19th line from the front. When we got to the crest of the bridge, the top of the bridge, and we saw all these men in blue — that was the Alabama State Troopers. We saw the Sheriff Jim Clark and his deputies, and we saw his posse. They were on horseback.
I really wasn't afraid that day until we got down there, all the way to the state troopers, and they said we were an illegal assembly and we had to disperse, and I heard this pop pop sound. Later I found out it was teargas. And I remember I couldn't breath, and I was scared. I was on my knees and somebody grabbed the back of my collar, [my] coat, and started pulling me backwards. And I guess I was resisting because they grabbed the front of my lapel and I bit the hand that was on the front of the lapel. And I heard that horrible n-word. And I felt him hit me twice.
I ended up with seven stitches over my right eye. I still have that scar. And 28 stitches in the back of my head, and I still have a knot in the back of my head from that."

In light of the anniversary, Sponsoring Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) expressed the necessity of both honoring the sacrifices of Foot Soldiers and formally acknowledging America’s history in her press release, stating, “We cannot appreciate how far we have come without acknowledging from where we came.”


Media:

Press Release – Reps. Sewell and Roby

AL.com

Congressional Gold Medals

(Photo Credit:  Jack Rabin collection on Alabama civil rights and southern activists, 1941-2004 (bulk 1956-1974) , Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Eberly Family Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.)

Official Title

To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

bill Progress


  • EnactedMarch 7th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed March 2nd, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
  • The house Passed February 11th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 420 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
    IntroducedJanuary 21st, 2015

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    Politicians love this stuff for gaining votes. Do your job and run the country, defend the Constitution and stop wasting time with this crap. Next will be Cecil the lion. Of course you'll continue to ignore Planned Parenthood selling baby parts.
    Like (5)
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    It needs to be recognized and acknowledged so we don't have to repeat it.
    Like (4)
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    What personal risk comparable to storming a beach head did this entail? Gimme a break?
    Like (4)
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    That is in the past and is not a good use in resources as we as a country are trying to balance the budget.
    Like (4)
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    Honoring the sacrifice and courage of those who paved the way is important, though a better tribute might be to ensure we keep moving forward and that we don't slide backwards or get stuck as we have a demonstrated tendency to do. We need to ensure nothing they did and suffered was in vain.
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    People were beaten and killed in their fight for the right to vote. They should be honored for their courage and tenacity.
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    They should be awarded for what they have done for their community, the ability to vote is such a big deal, as they can get their voices heard.
    Like (3)
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    The gold medal is awarded to people who helped in cornerstones of American progress. Voting equity is one such thing, and therefore the brave people who stood up to adversity deserve the medal's honor.
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    Give me one good reason why not. I mean, seriously.
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    These people pushed for equality and deserve the very highest honor and respect we can give them.
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    Voting rights are in important part of American history and should be honored.
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    These are men and women that stood in dangerous situations against terrible hatred and bigotry to change these laws. It's hard to believe anyone could in good consciousness vote against it!
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    This country is the story of democracy. Let's celebrate those who acted to realize that ideal.
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    One of Congress' duties is to ensure the ability for each citizen to provide input to the electoral process is a free of barriers as possible. The Congressional Medal of Honor should absolutely be awarded to those who fight to ensure the barrier free exercise of their constitutional right to select representation.
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    These people stood bravely for the cause of freedom and equality, and deserve credit for the changes they helped bring about, but cheap political grandstanding is not the way to honor them.
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    There was a lot of people involved in the voting rights of others yes I mean whites contributed significantly
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    This is really a no-brainer. As Rep Terri states: "We cannot appreciate how far we have come without acknowledging from where we came.”
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    I distrust anything "what a horrible woman" Nancy Pelosi endorses, due to her liberal agenda.
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    I am not a raciest, I love all men no matter their ethnic back ground, there have been a lot of great leaders in our past and I hope for more in the near future, but enough is enough. Will medals heal the wounds of our fore fathers, we must do the healing, and move on to a better nation and be thankful for those in the past
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    Of course
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