An ongoing political spat between GOP Sens. John McCain and Richard Shelby likely blocked a female World War II hero from receiving the Congressional Gold Medal before she died.
Stephanie Rader, a veteran who served with the Office of Strategic Services, died at the age of 100 in January before McCain finally released his hold on a bill set to honor heroes from World War II.
Rader worked as a spy in Poland after World War II to gain crucial intelligence on the Soviets, but no one knew of her activities until 2008 when information on her mission was declassified.
Shelby’s committee introduced it, leading to the impression the bill was actually Shelby’s, and kicking up a pre-existing spat between the two senators.
The feud between McCain and Shelby has raged for several months. McCain bashed Shelby in December for playing pork barrel politics and sneaking in a provision in the omnibus bill to benefit Alabama, the state which Shelby represents. Part of the reason for the bill was apparently to preserve access to the Russian-made rocket engine RD-180, which McCain has consistently tried to ban, since access to the engine will supposedly enrich Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. A ban on the RD-180 has been just one of the ways McCain has tried to push back against Putin’s incursion into eastern Ukraine.
The two have also clashed over the Littoral Combat Ship, as well as renovation projects of public parks.
During that same month, Shelby blocked a bill forwarded by McCain to benefit his home state of Arizona. Even though the text of the bill was unavailable, McCain reportedly asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push the bill through a hotline and unanimous consent. That’s when Shelby stepped in and blocked the bill.
This is likely what led McCain to delay the OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act, which has since passed, but only after Rader passed away.
“It is only right that Congress recognize the Members of the Office of Strategic Services for their great service to our nation during World War II,” Shelby told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I believe that it is truly unfortunate that a patriot like Stephanie Rader passed away before receiving the honor that she deserves for her bravery and dedication to the American Dream.”
McCain’s office had no comment on the political feud between McCain and Shelby and instead opted to praise the passage of the bill without any specific mention of Rader.
“Senator McCain applauds the passage of the OSS gold medal bill last month and is glad that the Congressional Gold Medal will be displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in honor of the members of the Office of Strategic Services and their significant contributions during World War II,” Rachael Dean, communications director McCain, told TheDCNF.
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