GOP senator wary of renaming building for McCain

A Republican senator says renaming the Russell Senate Office Building for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (R-Ariz.) would set a bad precedent.

“I'd rather find another way,” Louisiana Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market MORE told reporters on Tuesday. “What I don't want is to establish a precedent so that something named after John McCain is named after somebody else in the future.”

 “This is a question of making sure that however John is honored it is set in stone that John is always honored. I don't want to establish a precedent that we can unhonor somebody in the future,” Cassidy added, noting that he would discuss the matter with fellow GOP senators at a weekly luncheon meeting.

Shortly after McCain died on Saturday after a year-long battle with brain cancer, Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar Trump lashes out at Schumer over call for supply czar MORE (D-N.Y.), proposed renaming the building in honor of the six-term Arizona senator, who for decades had an office on the 2nd floor of the building, which was originally called the “Old Senate Building” and renamed for Georgia Sen. Richard Russell (D) in 1972.

Fellow Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE joined the effort, telling reporters on Tuesday that he and Schumer sent a letter to their colleagues floating the idea.

“This is hardly precedent to rename buildings and items. I think that we ought to honor John McCain appropriately there are many ways to do it. This would be in my view a good one,” Flake said when asked to respond to Cassidy’s concern.

"I think that Sen. McCain is the right person to honor by renaming this building,” Democratic Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate includes 0M for mail-in voting in coronavirus spending deal Hillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Democrats press for more stimulus funding to boost mail-in voting MORE (Del.), one of McCain’s friends in the upper chamber, said. “It’s where the Armed Services Committee he chaired has its office, it's where his offices were and I think that as a man who dedicated six terms in the Senate to serving the Senate that this would be a perfect and appropriate gesture to memorialize the service here.”

Other GOP senators, however, deferred to a process proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans 13 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE. The Kentucky Republican wants to create a bipartisan group that can come up with a variety of ways to honor McCain’s service.

“The leader's suggestion is a good one, put together a ‘gang’ that will look at appropriate ways to memorialize John's contribution,” Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze Burr2020 on my mind: Democrats have to think like Mitch McConnell Loeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic Before this pandemic ends, intel agencies should prepare for a world of threats MORE (R-N.C.) said, noting that renaming the Russell building is "one of the issues.”

 “I'll be anxious to see what the rest of the issues are that the gang brings up and what might be appropriate,” he added.

 Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Overnight Defense: Stimulus bill has .5B for Pentagon | Money would be blocked from border wall | Esper orders 60-day freeze for overseas troop movements Senate panel switches to 'paper hearings' amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Okla.) who calls McCain a “hero,” and will likely fill McCain’s role as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said "we'll be looking at that for the next three or four weeks, I understand, and during that time I think we want to see try to analyze what would John want.” 

— Molly Hooper