Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has reintroduced legislation, H.R. 2791, permitting each of the U.S. Territories to provide and furnish a statue honoring a citizen to be placed in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol as currently provided by law for the States. All the Representatives from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are original cosponsors of this legislation.
In 1864, Representative Justin S. Morrill of Vermont originally proposed the creation of a National Statuary Hall which was later made to law by the Congress. This law designated the Old Hall of the House as the National Statuary Hall where the U.S. House of Representatives met for 50 years prior to moving to the existing House Chamber. Furthermore, the Congress permitted each state to furnish or contribute two statues of prominent citizens or significant figures that would be permanently displayed in the National Statuary Hall. Due to limited space and weight concerns, the statues were later permitted to be displayed throughout the U.S. Capitol building which now includes the newly completed Capitol Visitors Center.
“As it was authorized by legislation in 1864, we are seeking that the territories are provided with the same opportunity to place a statue in the U.S. Capitol to honor the states and the individuals from these states who have made such an impact and contributed much to the foundation of our nation’s history,” said Faleomavaega. “We must honor the pioneers and the heroes who have done so much not only for the Territories but for our nation.”
“Having these statues in the U.S. Capitol will provide an opportunity to educate and inform the general public of the contributions of the people from the Territories. We are much a part of the U.S. and we must display our contributions to the many visitors who come to Washington, D.C. each year. This is ever more important with the opening of the new Capitol Visitors Center at the basement of the U.S. Capitol building.”
“I have introduced this legislation since the 109th Congress and I am hopeful that this noncontroversial legislation will move forward sometime this year. I want to take this opportunity to personally thank my fellow colleagues for cosponsoring this legislation and look forward to the work of my colleagues in the Committee on House Administration in moving this legislation forward,” concluded Faleomavaega.