Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Murphy Urge Committee Consideration of Revolutionary War Patriot Memorial Bill

Dec 15, 2015

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut have urged the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to consider the National Liberty Memorial Clarification Act of 2015, a bill that would keep the creation of the National Liberty Memorial – a monument to commemorate the tens of thousands of slaves and free black persons who fought for freedom and independence in the American Revolution – on track.
 
In a letter to Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Murphy and Grassley requested that the committee leaders schedule a hearing on the bill early in the next session of Congress so that it can be reported to the full Senate as soon as possible. The National Liberty Memorial Clarification Act was referred to the Senate committee earlier this year after it passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 402-0.
 
“We are strong supporters of the creation of the National Liberty Memorial to honor the thousands of enslaved and free black persons who fought in the Revolutionary War.  However, we understand that red tape has led to delays in the final approval of the design and location for the memorial.  In order to streamline the process and keep the memorial on track to be completed in the current authorization period, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1949, the National Liberty Memorial Clarification Act of 2015, on September 17, 2015,” wrote the Senators. “H.R. 1949 has now been referred to your committee. We ask that you schedule a hearing early in the next session of Congress to consider this bill with a view to it being reported to the full Senate for consideration as soon as possible.”
 
Grassley’s work to get the memorial built began when several young Iowans took an interest in the effort and helped with the initial push for the memorial. One soldier of special interest to many Iowans is Cato Mead, an African American Revolutionary War patriot who spent his final years in southeast Iowa.  There is a monument dedicated to Mead in the Montrose Cemetery in Lee County.
 
Murphy became involved in the effort after former U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joseph Lieberman successfully led the fight to pass legislation that, in 2013, was signed into law by President Obama and authorized construction of the new memorial. At least 820 African American soldiers served in the Revolutionary War from Connecticut.
 
The National Liberty Memorial will be built by Liberty Fund D.C., a private nonprofit established to lead the effort to construct the memorial. No taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the construction of the memorial.  
 
The full text of the letter is below:
 
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman
The Honorable Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources      
304 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
 
Dear Chairwoman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell,
 
We are strong supporters of the creation of the National Liberty Memorial to honor the thousands of enslaved and free black persons who fought in the Revolutionary War.  The memorial has been authorized by Congress to be established in Area I or Area II in Washington, D.C. However, we understand that red tape has led to delays in the final approval of the design and location for the memorial.  In order to streamline the process and keep the memorial on track to be completed in the current authorization period, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1949, the National Liberty Memorial Clarification Act of 2015, on September 17, 2015, by a vote of 402-0.
 
H.R. 1949 has now been referred to your committee.  We ask that you schedule a hearing early in the next session of Congress to consider this bill with a view to it being reported to the full Senate for consideration as soon as possible.  
 
Thank you for your consideration of our request.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Charles E. Grassley                                                               Christopher Murphy
United States Senator                                                            United States Senator

A signed copy of the letter is available here.

 

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