A bill that would allow for the awarding of the Medal of Honor to Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, who died after rushing into a burning military vehicle in Iraq to pull out fellow soldiers on October 17, 2005, is currently stuck in the Senate, caught up in partisan fighting on other issues.
Cashe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star in 2005, but for the last 15 years, his family and a legion of supporters in the military and veteran community have been fighting to get it upgraded to the Medal of Honor, and they are almost over the finish line.
Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) last year pressured the Pentagon to review his case, and this summer, Defense Secretary Mark Esper agreed Cashe should be awarded the Medal of Honor but said Congress needed to first waive the five year statute of limitation for the Medal of Honor since the heroic deed.
Murphy, Waltz, and Crenshaw immediately introduced a bill to do that, and the Democrat-controlled House passed it on September 22, 2020, by unanimous consent. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced it in the Senate the next day, with bipartisan support.
However, a month later, the bill is stuck in the Senate.
Republican aides say the holdup is not on their side. A Cotton aide said:
It was hotlined. It should have cleared by unanimous consent because as far as we could tell there were no holds on it. We know for a fact that the Republicans have not put any holds on it and want it to get to the floor as soon as possible. So that leaves one other side.
The bill was “hotlined” in mid-October — a process that allows for a bill expected to have unanimous consent to be expedited for passage.
The process consists of sending a bill to the committee of jurisdiction — in this case, the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill is then considered by committee, and if there is no objection raised, the bill heads to the Republicans and Democrats’ respective “cloakrooms.”
If 48 hours pass and there is no objection in either cloakrooms, the Senate majority leader, with the consent of the Senate minority leader, can call the bill up on the Senate floor — usually in a package of other non-controversial bills cleared for passage by unanimous consent, known as the “weekly wrap-up.”
Sources say that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is not putting a direct hold on the bill, but that he has not agreed to the weekly wrap-up since early October. It is likely due to the fight over Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and other more partisan issues.
Breitbart News asked Schumer’s office whether he opposed the bill passing by unanimous consent but did not receive a response.
However, advocates for the bill say they are hopeful Senate Democrats allow it to clear Monday night, after a vote on Barrett.
Cashe’s case has garnered a groundswell of support on the right and the left, from a number of other currently serving members of the military and veterans. They have also been pushing the Senate to act.
The original House bill’s sponsors are also doing what they can to push the bill over the finish line.
Murphy tweeted Friday:
There are certain things in life that transcend politics, and this is one of them. #AlwynCashe’s family, along with the military veterans who’ve have led this grassroots effort, have waited long enough to see Alwyn properly honored. I remain optimistic we will get this done.
There are certain things in life that transcend politics, and this is one of them. #AlwynCashe’s family, along with the military veterans who’ve have led this grassroots effort, have waited long enough to see Alwyn properly honored. I remain optimistic we will get this done. https://t.co/9GiyhObg2F
— Rep. Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) October 23, 2020
Waltz tweeted Thursday:
It’s been a MONTH since the House passed a bill to posthumously award SFC Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor. Cashe’s family has fought for 15 years for this recognition. But the bill is still sitting in the Senate, waiting for action. What’s the problem? Who opposes it?
It’s been a MONTH since the House passed a bill to posthumously award SFC Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor.
Cashe's family has fought for 15 years for this recognition.
But the bill is still sitting in the Senate, waiting for action.
What’s the problem? Who opposes it? https://t.co/Z00yahCBCy
— Rep. Michael Waltz (@RepMichaelWaltz) October 21, 2020
“Sergeant Cashe’s family has waited too long to see him properly honored for his heroism. I urge my Senate colleagues to allow this bill to proceed immediately,” Cotton said in a statement on Friday.