House Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman C.W. “Bill” Young will be laid to rest Thursday in his native and beloved Florida. The veteran Republican was an old-school lawmaker, who during his final months and weeks, lamented the tactics and views of the 2010 and 2012 classes of House Republicans, who rode into office on a tea party wave of campaign cash and anti-government rhetoric.
At 82 years old, Young was an elder statesman in the GOP caucus and the entire House. Amid a turbulent sea of political and ideological bitterness, Young was respected by members of both parties. He was a compromiser, a deal-maker. So it was fitting that Democrats joined Republicans on Tuesday to honor Young on the House floor. Read some of the bipartisan praise after the jump.
The House’s No. 2 Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, rose to speak about Young, whom he called “my friend,” a man he met 40 years ago when the two were congressional aides.
“I am a Democrat; Bill was a Republican. It didn’t make any difference. He was an American, I was an American, and we served our country together,” Hoyer said. “No one served it better than Bill Young. He chose to see our differences as slight and our common purpose as great. He always chose civility over partisanship.”
(You can watch Hoyer’s full remarks in the above video.)
Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., called Young a “true patriot and a tenacious public servant.”
“His accomplishments are so varied and many: creating a national bone marrow registry; improving the quality of life for active-duty personnel, our National Guard, our Reserves, our veterans; protecting thousands of jobs in his area; preserving MacDill Air Force Base; improving Florida’s environment,” she said. “These are just some of Bill’s many accomplishments.”
The bipartisan praise continued.
“As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, his leadership and advocacy for our men and women in uniform and our veterans was unsurpassed,” said House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
Lowey highlighted how Young had become the exception in a bitter-divided Washington.
“In a time when political culture too often devolves into hostility, and compromise is a dirty word,” Lowey said, “Bill Young was always a gentleman who consistently reached across the aisle.”
Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, among the young House Republicans with whom Young took exception, recently called the government shutdown that old-school lawmakers like Young so reviled “the tremor before the tsunami here,” adding in an interview with the Washington Post: “I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling.”
On Tuesday, Yoho praised the man whom he and other “young guns” so disagreed with on fiscal matters.
“Bill saw the nation through, some of her most tumultuous times, and throughout all of it he worked tirelessly to make sure our nation’s veterans were taken care of,” Yoho said. “He was a constant fixture at VA medical centers in Florida and in the Washington, D.C., area always making sure the veterans were receiving the best possible care.”
(Video: YouTube via the Office of Rep. Steny Hoyer)
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