Newly passed legislation upgrades status of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus
The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice today offered its unequivocal support for legislation passed yesterday, which establishes a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in place of the existing Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Congressman Lantos co-founded the Caucus a quarter century ago and acted as co-chairman for nearly his entire congressional career.
Representative Jim McGovern (D – Mass.), current co-chair of the Human Rights Caucus, introduced House Resolution 1451 and said in his remarks on the floor, “This commission will be a living, breathing legacy to the vision and inspiration of Tom Lantos. It reminds us that protecting and promoting human rights is not just the right thing to do, but it has the capacity of transforming us, of making us better people, better Members of Congress, and better citizens of the world.”
House Resolution 1451 institutionalizes the Human Rights Caucus by upgrading it to the status of a Commission. Most notably, this means that the Commission will be able to submit for its own budget, as part of the larger Foreign Affairs Committee budget. It will also be able to hire its own staff.
Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Lantos and chairman of the Lantos Foundation, worked alongside her husband as the unpaid Executive Director of the Human Rights Caucus for 25 years. She expressed her gratitude and support for the legislation.
“It is almost unbelievable that this Caucus, which was literally nonexistent when Tom was elected in 1980, is standing on the threshold of becoming a permanent part of the U.S. Congress,” she said. “I am so pleased and I know Tom would have been honored to have this organization named for him. More importantly, he would be thrilled to know that the vital work of the Human Rights Caucus will now be carried on by the Commission.”