The building currently is named for Richard Russell, a Georgia Democrat who served from 1933 until 1971 and who was notorious for leading opposition to civil rights reforms advanced by President Lyndon Johnson and for upholding racial segregation.
Schumer and McCain, the Arizona Republican who died this weekend, were both members of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight, which sought in vain to reach agreement on a comprehensive immigration bill.
“The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain,” Schumer, who is the minority leader in the Senate and who is Jewish, said Saturday on Twitter.
“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him,” Schumer said.
Sen. Jeff Flake, like McCain, an Arizona Republican, said he would cosponsor such resolution. “There are many other things we need to do but that’s a good one,” Flake said on Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “John McCain had his office just right near mine in the Russell building. That’s where he was his entire time. I think that’s a fitting tribute.”
Flake’s status as McCain’s fellow Republican and Arizonan lends the proposal heft.
Because the proposal involves congressional property, it would not need the signature of President Donald Trump.
Trump and McCain, a Vietnam war hero and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, feuded, and Trump refused to honor McCain during his struggle with brain cancer. Since his death Saturday, Trump tweeted condolences to McCain’s family but issued no White House tribute to the former Vietnam prisoner of war and one-time GOP presidential nominee.