Lawmakers Push To Have Aretha Franklin Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

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Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill to have the legendary singer, Aretha Franklin, posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

According to the bill — introduced by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California — it will honor the “Queen of Soul” who “instilled hope, uplifted generations, and changed the lives of millions,” the New York Times reported. (RELATED: Remembering The ‘Queen Of Soul’ With These Unforgettable Moments [VIDEO])

Singer Aretha Franklin arrives at the Candie's Foundation 10th anniversary Event to Prevent benefit New York May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo

Singer Aretha Franklin arrives at the Candie’s Foundation 10th anniversary Event to Prevent benefit New York May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo

Harris explained that, the “Natural Woman” singer’s songs were “the soundtrack of my childhood.” Hatch added that Franklin “touched the hearts of millions, lifting all of us with songs of hope and humanity.”

The pair was joined by Georgia Republican Rep. Doug Collins, Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence and senators from Franklin’s hometown of Tennessee.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor that can be given by Congress, something that was first an honor given to George Washington.

The move comes following news last Thursday that the “Respect” singer had died at her Detroit home from pancreatic cancer surround by her loved ones. She was 76.

Shortly after news broke, her family released a statement about her death.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” the family’s statement read. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

A tribute concert for her is reportedly in the works and will reportedly be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City in November, a source shared with Entertainment Tonight.

Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She has had more than 20 number-one singles in her career and in 2005 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.