WHY NOT HONOR THE OSS?
The legislation seemed harmonious and sure-footed. Members of the heroic Office of Strategic Services — the World War II-era predecessor of both the CIA and U.S. special forces — had been nominated to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their intrepid and productive activities. The bill was passed by the Senate and obtained the requisite number of co-sponsors to be passed by the House. Now the legislation has stalled, even as the precious few living OSS members — all in their 90s — wonder if the recognition will come their way. The medal has been awarded to such OSS peers as Native American Code Talkers and the Doolittle Raiders.
“If the bill is not passed by the end of the 114th Congress, it will die and some of the greatest heroes of the greatest generation will never be honored for their service, which would be a travesty,” says a source.
“The House Republican Conference enacted a rule that prevents awarding the Gold Medal to groups of people, unless House leadership grants a waiver,” writes Associated Press correspondent Matthew Barakat, who notes that top GOP officials would not comment.
Rep. Robert Latta, the Ohio Republican who sponsored the legislation, is working on a rule change that could bring the bill before the House before it’s too late. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who shepherded the OSS bill along in the Senate, told the AP: “It just shouldn’t be this hard.”