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John Boehner Seeks Winston Churchill Bust in Capitol

A bill by Speaker John Boehner to put a bust of Winston Churchill in the Capitol passed the House by voice vote today.

It was the fourth piece of legislation sponsored by the Ohio Republican since he became Speaker in January.

The bill would task the Architect of the Capitol with finding an “appropriate statue or bust” of the former prime minister of the United Kingdom “at a location directed by the House Fine Arts Board in consultation with the Speaker.”

“Winston Churchill was the best friend America ever had,” said Boehner, taking a break from negotiations on pending tax legislation to speak on his resolution’s behalf on the House floor this evening.

Churchill, one of the first outspoken critics of the Nazis, served as prime minister from 1940 through 1945 and from 1951 through 1955.

He addressed a joint session of Congress on Dec. 26, 1941. Churchill, whose mother was American, was made an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963 and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1969.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), speaking in favor of the resolution, said today that a bust of Churchill is currently on display in the House Ways and Means Committee hearing room, and that from 1985 to 1986 it had a place in the Statuary Hall.

“The United States Capitol does not currently appropriately recognize the contributions of Sir Winston Churchill or that of the United Kingdom,” the resolution reads.

Works of art throughout the Capitol depict great Americans throughout history, but there aren’t many foreign leaders represented. Those who are tend to have been designated by law as honorary citizens.

A painting of Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who served as a general under George Washington in the American Revolutionary War, hangs in the House chamber. He was named an honorary American in 2002.

And a bust of Raoul Wallenberg, designated as an honorary American in 1981, resides in Emancipation Hall. A Swedish businessman and diplomat, Wallenberg helped rescue thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary.

Boehner has sponsored three other measures, all of which have passed the House, since becoming Speaker.

One was a resolution expressing the sense of Congress’ remorse following the near-fatal shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January; the others were a bill to establish a school voucher program in Washington, D.C., and a resolution directing the president not to deploy U.S. armed forces in Libya.

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