McCaskill, Blunt Push Bill to Rename DC Train Station for Truman

Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:59 PM

By Jason Devaney

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An effort is underway to rename Union Station, the train hub in Washington, D.C., after former President Harry S. Truman.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican counterpart, Sen. Roy Blunt, who represent Truman's home state of Missouri, made the proposal in a bill Thursday, which would have been Truman's 130th birthday.

McCaskill told The Washington Post that she expects to see interest in the bill from both sides of the aisle.

"I hear Republicans all the time comparing themselves to Harry Truman. So I figured, with so many people wanting to grab Harry Truman’s mantle, this could turn into a great bipartisan effort," McCaskill said.

Truman was a Democrat. And a building in the nation's capital already bears his name: the Harry S. Truman Building, which is part of the State Department.

Union Station is a federal building, meaning Congress has the right to decide what it's called. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, however, wants the city have a say in the matter.

"Any name change should be made in collaboration and consultation with the residents and government of the District of Columbia," Gray told the Post.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents D.C., on the other hand, supports the idea of having the iconic building — a hub for Amtrak trains, subways, and buses — named for Truman.

"From integrating the armed forces and the Marshall Plan to the Fair Deal and the creation of the United Nations, Harry Truman was one of our nation’s greatest presidents and deserves recognition in the nation’s capital," she said in a statement.

McCaskill's office on Capitol Hill, according to the Post, contains a Truman bust, photos of him, and one of his famous quotes, "The bucks stops here."

The Post asked McCaskill what critics would think of Truman's name being on the building, since he was the first U.S. president to order the use of an atomic bomb.

"He saved thousands of lives by making that decision, it was a very difficult decision, it was obviously horrific that that happened, but I think most historians would weigh in and say that the decision was made to save lives, not take lives," McCaskill said.

Union Station features about 140 shops and restaurants and is in the midst of a $35 million renovation that will add space for more eateries. Two years ago, Amtrak proposed an expansion project that would triple the station's capacity for passengers at a cost of $7 billion. The building, however, is in the middle of a tax dispute with the city.

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