Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center presented its inaugural Congressional Patriot Award to Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and John Lewis (D-GA) in a ceremony this evening at the Library of Congress. BPC’s biennial Congressional Patriot Award recognizes two members of Congress—one Republican and one Democrat—who place the interests of the nation above all else in a manner that brings credibility and honor to the institution.
“Our nation and our Congress are challenged by a complex array of interests, ideology, and demands. Despite the strain of pluralism, there are some with the unique capacity to guide our nation in common purpose,” said BPC President Jason Grumet. “Sam Johnson and John Lewis have demonstrated unrivaled courage in the face of injustice. We believe it is this same fearlessness that enables great legislators to overcome differences and govern a diverse nation.”
The evening included remarks from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Reps. John Larson (D–CT) and Tom Cole (R–OK). Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and esteemed civil rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young, Jr. were also present to bestow the awards to Johnson and Lewis.
Larson and Cole—two champions of the Congressional Patriot Award—introduced a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing the establishment of the award and acknowledged the heroism of Johnson and Lewis on the House Floor.
“I commend the Bipartisan Policy Center for their recognition of perhaps two of the finest Members of Congress,” said Larson. “Reps. Sam Johnson and John Lewis are admired across generation and across the nation. These two men prove that true patriotism transcends political party.”
“I am very pleased that the Bipartisan Policy Center has chosen to acknowledge the heroic contributions of members of Congress with the Congressional Patriot Award,” said Cole. “For such a distinct honor, it is indeed fitting that the first recipients will be Reps. Sam Johnson and John Lewis. Without question, their sincerity, selflessness and patriotism reminds us all of our duty to put nation first.”
The evening also featured David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, who moderated a wide-ranging discussion with the honorees.