GOP slows efforts to rename Senate building for McCain


WASHINGTON (AP) — A proposal to rename the Senate's oldest office building for John McCain has received bipartisan support, but the effort appeared to slow today as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will form a bipartisan panel to solicit ideas on the best way to honor the late Arizona senator.

McCain "meant so much to so many of us," inside the Senate and out, McConnell said, adding: "The Senate is eager to work on concrete ways to continue this momentum and provide a lasting tribute to this American hero long after this week's observances are complete."

Besides the proposal to rename the Russell Senate Office building, lawmakers may consider naming a committee room used by the Senate Armed Services Committee after McCain, who was the panel's chairman, McConnell said.

Another idea is to add McCain's portrait to a reception room right off the Senate floor, joining such giants as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and Robert Taft. Only seven senators are honored with portraits there.

McConnell was careful not to make a specific recommendation.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had proposed renaming the Russell Senate Office building in McCain's honor after the veteran Republican senator died Saturday from brain cancer.

The 109-year-old building is named after Sen. Richard Russell, a Georgia Democrat who, like McCain, chaired the Armed Services Committee. Russell, who died in 1971, was a segregationist and led Southern opposition to anti-lynching bills and other civil-rights legislation, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Previously known simply as the Senate Office Building, it was renamed in Russell's honor the year after his death.

While some Republicans are receptive to renaming the building, many urged caution.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who served with McCain for 31 years, said Monday he was in favor of "naming almost any building" for McCain, but added, "I'm not sure that I would make a decision on a specific building at this point."

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