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Marco Rubio, Chris Coons Bring Back Proposal to Name Senate Human Rights Commission After John McCain

March 1, 2019 - 9:30am
Marco Rubio and John McCain confer in May 2017
Marco Rubio and John McCain confer in May 2017

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is once again backing a proposal for the federal government to create a human rights commission and name it after U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who passed away last year. 

Back in December, Rubio joined Republican U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Todd Young of Indiana and Democrats U.S. Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Ed Markey of Massachusetts in bringing out a resolution to create the John S. McCain III Human Rights Commission to “examine human rights violations through regular hearings and briefings, and promote human rights initiatives in the Senate.” The senators noted that the commission would be modeled after the U.S. House’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. But the bill did not clear in the final days of the 115th Congress. 

This week, Rubio and those same senators brought back the proposal to create the McCain Human Rights Commission.  Coons is the main sponsor of the bill.

“This proposed commission would honor Senator John McCain, who dedicated his life to promoting and protecting the democratic and moral values that we as Americans cherish,” Rubio said. “In the Senate, he was a tireless champion for the God-given rights of all people and worked to expose violations of human dignity in the darkest corners of the world. I am proud to join my colleagues in continuing that work in the days ahead.”

“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 . “I am hopeful that we can advance this legislation and honor Senator McCain’s legacy by establishing a bipartisan commission here in the Senate that is dedicated to raising awareness about human rights abuses and promoting human liberty around the world.”

“Our late friend and colleague John McCain understood that promoting and defending human rights was a cornerstone of America’s foreign policy and an inherent way of advancing American values, from leading the passage of the Magnitsky Act to sanctioning authoritarian regimes that hold contempt for human life,” Tillis said. “It’s an honor to join Senator Coons in proposing the establishment of the McCain Human Rights Commission, which will carry on John McCain’s legacy of shining a light on human rights abuses across the world and building bipartisan coalitions to take action.”

"John McCain understood the importance of American international leadership on human rights, and establishing this commission is an important and appropriate way to honor him and reinforce the central role of human rights in American foreign policy," Young said.

The bill was sent to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. 

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