Gleason may get Congressional Gold Medal

Published 4:22 am Saturday, December 22, 2018

U.S. Sen. Dr. Bill Cassidy, R-La., announced Thursday that his bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5499) to award Washington state native, ALS champion, and former New Orleans Saints star Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal has gained 190 cosponsors in two weeks and is now supported by 246 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.), and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).

The bill (S. 2652) passed the Senate unanimously in June after garnering 73 cosponsors in just two months.

“Through his work to help others who are disabled, Steve Gleason has changed so many lives for the better,” Cassidy said. “The Senate unanimously supported legislation to honor Steve with the Congressional Gold Medal, and as more House members hear about Steve’s work they are supporting the bill too. I urge the House to pass it this month.”

On Thanksgiving during the New Orleans Saints game, NBC aired a look at Steve Gleason’s journey to becoming a father while fighting ALS.

Cassidy’s bipartisan legislation would recognize Gleason for his work through the Gleason Initiative Foundation to provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with the assistance they need to thrive, his advocacy for federal legislation ensuring people living with diseases such as ALS have access to speech generating devices, and his leadership in bringing together the single largest coordinated and collaborative ALS research project in the world.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. Previous recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Robert Frost, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Roberto Clemente, Sir Winston Churchill, John Wayne, the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic Team, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Ruth and Billy Graham, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.