Feingold Relents on Reagan Bill

Posted May 19, 2009 at 3:19pm

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) lifted his opposition to legislation that will create a commission to honor Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth, he said in a statement Tuesday.

Feingold had blocked the Reagan bill in an effort to get a vote on his amendment to create a commission to investigate U.S. treatment of immigrant communities in the 1930s and ’40s.

“I have no interest in trying to hold up this bill to honor President Reagan,— Feingold said Tuesday. “By trying to offer my amendment to examine the mistreatment of German, Italian and other European Americans during World War II, I had hoped we could pass two noncontroversial and important bills.—

“Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case, and with the anniversary of President Reagan’s birth approaching, it is important that we pass this bill commemorating our 40th president,— Feingold said.

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) told Roll Call he was optimistic the bill could now move forward and said he was working with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on when the bill would be re-introduced on the Senate floor.

“I have been in touch with the [Reagan] library, and they are very excited that we have cleared a major hurdle,— he said.

The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act would establish a privately funded commission to plan federal and state celebrations around Reagan’s centennial birthday in February 2011.