The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. Previous recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Robert Frost, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Roberto Clemente, Sir Winston Churchill, John Wayne, the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic Team, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Ruth and Billy Graham, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), today announced his bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5499) to award Washington state native, ALS champion, and former New Orleans Saints star Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal is now supported by 56 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Representatives Steve Scalise (R-LA), Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), and Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

The bill (S. 2652) passed the Senate unanimously in June after garnering 73 cosponsors in just two months, including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

It must pass the House by the end of the month in order to become law.

“Following his diagnosis, Steve Gleason has become a hero for all Americans as he finds hope and meaning in overcoming disability and creating greater opportunity for others who are disabled. His work has changed lives for the better,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Senate unanimously supported legislation to honor Steve with the Congressional Gold Medal, and I thank my House colleagues for working to build support for this legislation in their chamber. I know that when people learn about Steve’s work and the difference he is making, they support this bill, and I urge the House to pass it this month.”

On Thanksgiving during the New Orleans Saints game, NBC aired a look at Steve Gleason’s journey to becoming a father while fighting ALS.

Cassidy’s bipartisan legislation would recognize Gleason for his work through the Gleason Initiative Foundation to provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with the assistance they need to thrive, his advocacy for federal legislation ensuring people living with diseases such as ALS have access to speech generating devices, and his leadership in bringing together the single largest coordinated and collaborative ALS research project in the world.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. Previous recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Robert Frost, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Roberto Clemente, Sir Winston Churchill, John Wayne, the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic Team, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Ruth and Billy Graham, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.

Contributed by Sen. Bill Cassidy