Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission

Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission

A bipartisan group of senators is doubling down on a push to start a human rights commission named after the late Sen. (R-Ariz.). 

 
Lawmakers want to attach legislation creating the John S. McCain III Human Rights Commission to a mammoth defense authorization bill that the late GOP senator helped craft as Armed Services Committee chairman. 
 
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The Senate is set to start debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) later this week. The amendment to form the commission named after McCain is one of hundreds lawmakers are offering to the NDAA; it’s unclear how many will ultimately get a vote on the Senate floor or be included in the bill. 
 
The commission, according to the legislation, would hold hearings and briefings on human rights violations and collaborate with the Trump administration and outside groups on human rights initiatives. 
 
Sens. (D-Del.) and (R-N.C.), who co-chair the Senate Human Rights Caucus, first introduced legislation to create the commission named after McCain late last year. 
 

“Senator McCain was a remarkable man who used his role in the Senate to advocate for human rights and to stand up for people around the world who were denied basic freedoms. He embodied our country’s values and understood the critical role of the United States in promoting human rights across the globe,” Coons said in a statement when he introduced the legislation. 

 
The senators reintroduced the legislation earlier this year in the 116th Congress. Cindy McCain, the late senator’s wife, wrote in a tweet at the time that “the U.S. must lead on human rights. What a wonderful way to honor my husband’s legacy.” 

In addition to Coons and Tillis, Sens. (D-Minn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), (R-Ind.), (D-Ill.), (D-Mass.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), (R-Maine), (D-Va.), (D-Mass.), (R-Fla.), (R-Okla.) and (R-Kan.) are listed as cosponsors to the amendment. 
 
Senate Majority Leader (R-Ky.) said last year that he was forming a “gang” to come up with ideas for how the Senate could remember John McCain, who died from an aggressive form of brain cancer in August. That group hasn’t yet publicly put forward their ideas.
 
Sen. (R-Ga.) noted earlier this year that McCain’s family had also put together a group to come up with ideas. 
 
Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.) has floated renaming the Russell Senate Office building after McCain, but the idea faced backlash from some GOP senators.

Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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