(House of Representatives - November 29, 2016)

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[Pages H6321-H6322]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 6135) to designate the Federal building and United States 
courthouse located at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, as the 
``Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and United States Courthouse''.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 6135

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       The Federal building and United States courthouse located 
     at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, shall be known 
     and designated as the ``Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and 
     United States Courthouse''.


       Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, 
     or other record of the United States to the Federal building 
     and United States courthouse referred to in section 1 shall 
     be deemed to be a reference to the ``Fred D. Thompson Federal 
     Building and United States Courthouse''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Denham) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Capuano) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

                             General Leave

  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous materials on H.R. 6135.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 6135 would designate the Federal building and 
United States courthouse at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, 
as the Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
  I would like to thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) 
for her leadership on this legislation.
  Senator Thompson was an accomplished lawyer, actor, U.S. Senator, and 
a great friend. We spent numerous occasions together here in the 
Washington, D.C., area as he got to know new Members when we came in 
2010. I have appreciated his counsel, his friendship, and I look 
forward to seeing this bill passed.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).
  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to rise on this occasion to 
have the courthouse in Nashville named for a distinguished American, a 
friend of mine, Senator Fred Thompson, who is the only University of 
Memphis graduate to serve in the United States Senate.
  Fred was an outstanding attorney and Federal employee. He made 
Tennessee proud when he was counsel to the Watergate Committee. In a 
phenomenal fashion, he gave people a good feeling about bipartisanship 
when a Republican such as Fred Thompson stood up and raised the 
questions that needed to be raised to end the illegal and crime-ridden 
episodes of Richard Nixon that were exposed in Watergate.
  Despite the fact that Richard Nixon was a Republican, Fred Thompson 
saw to it that when the President acted in an untowardly fashion, 
diminishing the Constitution, diminishing our government, all Americans 
should stand up and oppose such. Fred did it in an admiral way, and 
Richard Nixon resigned eventually, and Gerald Ford helped save our 
country. Vice Presidents can do that.
  Fred served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He was a mentee of Senator 
Howard Baker, a great Member of the United States Senate and a great 
American. He was also a private-practicing attorney who had a case 
concerning pardons. It was a Democrat was doing things that were 
illegal. Ray Blanton from Tennessee was giving pardons that were 
improper. Marie Ragghianti stepped forward.
  Fred Thompson wrote a book about Marie exposing illegal pardons. 
Somebody who did the script thought Fred could make a good actor. And 
Fred made a good actor. He did a lot of TV series and movies and had 
another career besides politician and lawyer: actor.
  He came to Memphis one time, I remember specifically, to speak to the 
Chamber. And he had a droll way about him. He said--and I guess he said 
it other places, as well--sometimes when I am in Washington, I miss the 
reality and the sincerity of Hollywood. Well, I laughed when Fred said 
it. I think about it often here.
  When he ran for office, Fred took a little red truck and used it to 
campaign. He drove that truck around the State. People identified with 
it. He was ahead of his time. It was kind of like Donald Trump eating 
McDonald's, I think. He related to the common man with that truck.
  I thought about Fred as I was flying up here. I just did get here in 
time. I was on one of the last of those regional jets, which was kind 
of like Fred's truck with wings on it. But we made it.
  I want to thank Fred Thompson for all he did as an attorney, as an 
actor, and as a friend to me. He was bipartisan. He was always friendly 
to me. He was a courteous gentleman.
  I came here when Fred won the National Conference of State 
Legislatures Award for looking out for States' rights. He was the only 
member of the Senate to vote on a bill that the NCSL was in favor of. 
And he was right. There was a province that belonged to the States that 
the Federal Government usurped because it was so wonderful to do and 
sets good brownie points back home. But Fred didn't do that. He stayed 
with his position that States' rights should be first and those areas 
of tort liability should have remained with the States. I came to see 
Fred get that award.
  Fred had a wonderful wife and a wonderful family. One of his sons was 
a good friend of my mine. He still is. I am honored to be a sponsor of 
this bill. I am sorry that Fred left us, succumbing to cancer last 
year, but it is appropriate that we name the U.S. courthouse and 
Federal building in Nashville after this great American.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the 
gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn).
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from 
California for his work in moving this legislation forward and also my 
colleague from Tennessee for joining me on this bill. It is such an 
honor to bring it forward and to push for the naming of the Federal 
courthouse in Nashville as the Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and 
United States Courthouse.
  You know, it is so interesting. Fred learned a lot about life and 
about the law working in the current Federal building. As that building 
has been outgrown and the need for a new one is in the works, it is so 
exciting to know that Fred's name will be emblazoned on that building. 
It is exciting for all of the residents of Lawrence County, Tennessee. 
That is where Fred grew up.

[[Page H6322]]

That is in the Seventh Congressional District.
  Then, as Fred decided to go to law school and came back to Nashville, 
he settled in Williamson County, right there in Franklin and Brentwood 
in suburban Nashville. And that is where I got to know the Thompson 

                              {time}  1530

  I know this is a very exciting day for them, to know that this is 
actually taking place, that the House is completing their work and we 
are sending this on to the Senate for Senators Corker and Alexander to 
do their part of the work on this building.
  Many people did know Fred Thompson as an actor, and one of the things 
you would hear people talk about is Fred was a ``character actor.'' But 
that unassuming manner, the way he valued and embodied integrity, that 
was just Fred. That was how he lived his life, and he was a great 
``character actor'' because he really played himself.
  Whether it was ``Marie,'' whether it was the ``Hunt for Red 
October,'' whether you were watching him on the small screen or the big 
screen, he was exactly who he appeared to be, very unassuming, very 
dedicated, very smart, and a wonderful attorney.
  Of course, his public service did start as an Assistant U.S. Attorney 
in Nashville in the old Federal courthouse, and that did grow. The 
Watergate Committee, as Congressman Cohen has mentioned, was where Fred 
really made a mark and where he became extremely close to Senator 
Howard Baker, who was such a role model for so many generations of 
Tennesseans and Americans. How exciting it would be for Senator Baker 
to be here to know Fred's name was going to be on that courthouse in 
  This is the right move for the right person. I encourage all of my 
colleagues to join in passage of this legislation.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, given Senator Thompson's dedication to the 
law and public service, I believe it is more than fitting to name this 
courthouse and Federal building in Nashville after him.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Denham) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 6135.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.