What Congress owes Italy and Constantino Brumidi: Recognition!

Joe Grano, Chair of The Constantino Brumidi Society wants Congress to hold a Gold Medal ceremony for Constantio Brumidi – Seeks your help


1. Ask Speaker John Boehner to hold a Gold Medal Ceremony in the Rotunda for Constantino Brumidi, this fall. (202.225.0600)

2. Ask Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. to introduce a resolution in Congress to
recognize the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. (202.225.5751)

3. Read the sample letter to Speaker John Boehner, below, and e-mail your version of it to Kristen Molloy in Rep. Bill Pascrell’s office. (Kristen.Molloy@mail.house.gov)

4. If you don’t have time to write, then please make calls.

5. Please forward this letter to your friends, family and colleagues.

Today, Friday, July 1, 2011 is the third anniversary of President George Bush’s signing of the legislation to award Constantino Brumidi, The Artist of the Capitol, the nation’s most prestigious commendation – The Congressional Gold Medal.

For reasons, I do not have the space to get into, the Medal, though designed and cast has never been posthumously presented to Brumidi, though this presentation is customarily done for Gold Medal recipients in the Rotunda, with an elaborate ceremony, ironically, beneath Brumidi’s two masterpieces — The Apotheosis of Washington in the eye of the
dome and the Frieze of American History around the Rotunda. (By the way, the Brumidi legislation, itself, requires that a presentation be made, but the actual timing of the event is not specified).

It seems to me that holding the ceremony, this year, on the 150th anniversary of Italian
unification would be most appropriate and symbolic and be of benefit to the Italian-American community, as well as Italy.

Representative Bill Pascrell, sponsor of the legislation and co-chair of The Italian American Congressional Delegation is making a strong, concerted effort to have the Medal presented this fall. The person who will be most responsible for making the decision on whether to hold the ceremony is House Speaker John A. Boehner. I am therefore asking you to write a letter addressed to Speaker Boehner requesting that the presentation be
made and send it to Rep. Pascrell’s office where it will be forwarded to the Speaker’s office. (Sample letter with instructions is below).

It is most important that both Speaker Boehner and Representative Pascrell know that there is strong support in the Italian American community for the ceremony. Please do
your part! Thank you.

While you are doing this, please ask Rep. Pascrell to introduce a resolution in Congress to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. (Italy officially became a country on March 17, 1861). While there is a bill in the House, H.R. 742, and a bill in the Senate, S.369, to do this, which, by the way, has the support of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), it is also burdened with giving a Gold Medal to Giuseppe Garibaldi, a leader of the Italian unification movement. This means the House bill is required to have 290 co-sponsors and the Senate version will need 67 co-sponsors before being brought up for a vote. (This is the requirement for all Gold Medal bills, including Brumidi’s).

Four and a half months after introduction (Feb. 16), the House bill has TWO co-sponsors
and the Senate bill has ONE co-sponsor! After working with members of Congress on Italian-American related bills and resolutions for nearly eight years, it is my conclusion that neither of these bills will ever be passed without a monumental effort by its sponsors, plus a miracle, and certainly not this year. And, if so, the Congress of the United States will not pay its respects to Italy, one of our greatest allies, in its big anniversary year.

A more sensible and practical legislative strategy needs to be employed.

To avoid the embarrassment of neglecting our ally, Italy, in its anniversary year, all Mr. Pascrell needs to do is introduce a concurrent House resolution recognizing Italy and find about 50 co-sponsors. This will lead to easy passage in the House. After passage by unanimous consent there, it will be sent to the Senate where it will also be passed by unanimous consent. It is as simple as that! This is the way that ceremonial resolutions
are  usually passed in Congress. (Mr. Pascrell, himself, did something very similar to this in 2009 with a House resolution offering condolences to Italy after the earthquake there — H.Res. 430. This resolution, with 50 co-sponsors, was passed by voice vote,

Why anyone would mix something which is extremely difficult to do (awarding a Gold Medal), with something that is very easy to accomplish (congratulating one of our
greatest allies), I have no idea. (If anyone can find fault in my analysis, please write me).

So, please contact by e-mail or phone Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. and ask him to introduce a concurrent resolution to Recognize the Republic of Italy on the 150th Anniversary of its Unification. (E-mail Kristen.Molloy@mail.house.gov or phone 202.225.5751).

When you write Speaker Boehner and Rep. Pascrell, please  send me a copy of your
letter! It is very important that I know what the response to this mailing has been.

Finally, please forward this letter to your friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you!

Have a very happy Fourth of July.

Joseph N.Grano, Chair
The Constantino Brumidi Society
Washington, D.C.


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