Cushing won't get his medal - at least this year
Lake Country Civil War historians and Delafield city officials are going to have to wait until next year before they make another attempt to get Congress to go along with the idea of awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Civil War hero Lt. Alonzo Cushing of Delafield.
A U.S. House and Senate conference committee last week refused to restore an amendment to a defense-spending bill that would have paved the way for Cushing to receive the medal.
The amendment would have permitted Cushing to be awarded the medal despite the fact that law requires recommendations for the medal to be made within two years of the heroic incident.
The waiver of the deadline was supported by both the secretary of army and the secretary of defense, according to David Krueger, who is the City of Delafield liaison to the Medal of Honor effort.
Krueger said he was disappointed that the conference committee would not restore the amendment.
"But my spirits were lifted after talking to Rep. Sensenbrenner's and Rep. Ron Kind's office. Rep. Kind is a Civil War historian, and his office was really fired up about trying again," Krueger said.
Sensenbrenner spokeswoman Amanda Infield predicted that the Wisconsin congressional delegation would try again next year in a bipartisan effort to get congressional approval of the waiver.
Infield explained that Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) stripped the amendment from the National Defense Appropriation Act two weeks ago.
Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Menomonee Falls and Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, along with other members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation, wrote letters urging members of the committee to restore the amendment.
But the committee, which included Webb, refused.
Webb explained in a news release that he voted against the waiver because "it is impossible for Congress to go back to events of 150 years ago to make individual determinations in a consistent, equitable and well-informed manner."
"While one would never wish to demean any act of courage, I believe that the retroactive determination in one case could open up an endless series of claims. The better wisdom would be for Congress to leave history alone," Webb concluded.
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