Politics

35 Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill Awarding Congressional Gold Medals To Service Members Killed In Kabul

(Photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell / U.S. Marine Corps via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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A bipartisan group of 35 senators introduced a bill Wednesday that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to all thirteen U.S. soldiers killed in the Aug. 26 Kabul terrorist attack.

Fallen soldiers were constituents of two of the bill’s lead sponsors, Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines is also a lead sponsor of the legislation.

Eleven marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army staff sergeant were killed by ISIS-K suicide bombers and gunmen outside Hamid Karzai International Airport. The attack marked the third-deadliest day of the U.S.’s War in Afghanistan, and the deadliest since 2011.

Federal law and chamber rules require that 67 members of the Senate and 290 members of the House of Representatives co-sponsor legislation awarding a Congressional Gold Medal before it can be considered. 159 members of the House signed onto Republican Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain’s companion bill on Aug. 31.

Congress has awarded 175 congressional gold medals to individuals and organizations. (RELATED: Senate Passes Bill Awarding Police Congressional Gold Medals For Heroism During Capitol Riot)

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the 13 courageous men and women who gave their lives in Afghanistan to save those they had never met,” Blackburn said in a statement. “These service members embodied true American heroism in the face of persistent evil. Honoring these heroes, including Tennessee native Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, with Congressional Gold Medals is the least we can do to express our deep appreciation for their service and sacrifice.”

“We should honor these 13 servicemembers, including U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence, Massachusetts, who were killed last month in Afghanistan while serving our country and working to protect the lives of others. These individuals demonstrated incredible courage throughout their careers, and we owe it to them to pass legislation to recognize their heroic service with the Congressional Gold Medal,” Warren added.