House, Senate Disagree on Who to Name DOT Building After

House, Senate Disagree on Who to Name DOT Building After dot building The U.S. Department of Transportation building is seen in Washington, D.C., on July 22, 2019. (ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 05 November 2021 01:38 PM

The House and Senate are at odds over who to name the main DOT building after, Roll Call is reporting.

The Senate passed a bill on April 14 to name the transportation headquarters after William Coleman Jr., the first Black transportation secretary. But the House on Thursday voted to rename the building for former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the first Asian American to hold the title.

Coleman was transportation secretary from 1975 to 1977 during the Ford administration. He died in 2017.

Before taking on the transportation post, Coleman, a lawyer, defended the Freedom Riders and was an author of the legal brief for the NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court ruled in the landmark 1954 case that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional, Roll Call noted.

"Naming the Department of Transportation headquarters after Sec. Coleman would be a fitting tribute for this distinguished public servant," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

Meanwhile, Mineta was the longest serving transportation secretary. He held the post under President George W. Bush. He had also served as a Democrat in the House.

"He put a phenomenal amount of his talent and life into transportation infrastructure," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., according to Bloomberg Government.

DeFazio added that he would be "happy to find something else" to name for Coleman, but "if you’re looking for someone who has an extraordinary outstanding record over decades on transportation it’s Norm Mineta."

Wicker maintained he wasn’t aware the House was voting to name the building after Mineta and that he was "disappointed."

"I really thought there was widespread bipartisan support for this," he said, referring to the bill he sponsored to name the building after Coleman.

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