Hatch, Lee favor renaming Senate office building after the late Sen. John McCain

A statue of Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia stands in the rotunda of a Senate office building named after him, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. After the death of Sen. John McCain of Arizona this weekend, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he will introduce a resolution to rename the Russell Senate Office Building to honor McCain. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Washington • Utah’s senators said Monday they favor renaming a Senate office building after the late Sen. John McCain, a movement that appears to be gaining momentum since the chamber’s top Democrat called for the name change in the wake of the Arizona Republican’s death Saturday.

“Senator Hatch believes it’s a worthy goal and looks forward to working with the majority leader to accomplish it,” Hatch's deputy chief of staff, Matt Whitlock, said Monday afternoon.

Sen. Mike Lee's spokesman also said he supports the name change.

Lee’s Washington office is housed in the Russell Senate Office Building, which sits across the street from the Capitol and is named after a former Georgia senator; Hatch’s office is in a different building.

McCain, a Vietnam War hero and longtime senator, passed away at his home in Sedona, Ariz., on Saturday after battling brain cancer.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer raised the idea of renaming the Russell building just after news broke that McCain had passed.

“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him, I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him,” Schumer said.

The Senate, without need for a vote from the House or for President Donald Trump’s support, can rename the office building.

The building, one of three Senate office structures, was named in the 1970s after former Georgia Democratic Sen. Richard Russell, a segregationist who opposed the Civil Rights Act. Russell served as Senate president pro tempore, a position given to the most senior member of the controlling party in the Senate. Hatch currently holds that role.

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