That is the one vote cast against giving Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, and it was cast by Mr. Ron Paul on April 20, 1999. This isn’t exactly breaking news but we were reminded of it today (it’s apparently been making the email rounds at a couple lobbying houses) — Ron just hates giving out medals! He even gave a little speech:
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 573. At the same time, I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies. However, I oppose the Congressional Gold Medal for Rosa Parks Act because authorizing $30,000 of taxpayer money is neither constitutional nor, in the spirit of Rosa Parks who is widely recognized and admired for standing up against an overbearing government infringing on individual rights.
Because of my continuing and uncompromising opposition to appropriations not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, I must remain consistent in my defense of a limited government whose powers are explicitly delimited under the enumerated powers of the Constitution — a Constitution, which only months ago, each Member of Congress, swore to uphold.
Perhaps we should begin a debate among us on more appropriate processes by which we spend other people’s money. Honorary medals and commemorative coins, under the current process, come from allocated other people’s money. We should look for another way.
It is, of course, easier to be generous with other people’s money.
Because if there’s one thing Rosa Parks wanted, it was the goddamned government off her back. Let Montgomery be, Washington!
Ron also voted against medals for the Pope, Ronald Reagan, and Charles Schulz. Apparently if the House feels like giving someone a medal, they have to try to swing it when Ron’s not around, because otherwise he demands an on-the-record vote — every time!
Even more fun: he uses the exact same speech for each one! He probably has a crumpled copy of it in his jacket (he probably also only has one jacket).
As you can see, Paul balks at the idea of spending so much money to give famous people chunks of gold (to be fair, we didn’t know they cost so much either — we thought they were filled with chocolate), and he likes to go around asking everyone in congress to just pitch in $100 of their own money instead.
Of course the real reason Ron hates giving out these medals so much is because the government is going to need to hold on to as much of the precious metal as possible once President Paul switches us back to the Gold Standard. We can’t be giving that shit away willy-nilly to old ladies what wouldn’t trade seats on the bus!
Final Vote Results for Roll Call 92 [Clerk.House.gov]