The organization honored the 41st U.S. president with its 2014
Profile in Courage Award, praising the Republican leader's "decision
to put country above party and political prospects" in the deal with
"America's gain was President Bush's loss," Jack Schlossberg,
grandson of former president John F. Kennedy and a member of the
award committee, said during a ceremony at the library in Boston.
Bush did not attend the event. Granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren,
niece of former president George W. Bush, accepted the award on her
"Candidly speaking, my grandfather did not want to raise taxes in
1990," she said. "But in our constitutional system of governance,
Congress also gets a say - and more than that, he felt he owed the
American people action and results."
The foundation also honored Paul W. Bridges, a former Georgia mayor,
as co-recipient of the award for putting his mayoral career on the
line to oppose a 2011 immigration bill aimed at pushing undocumented
immigrants out of his state.
The awards, presented during the mid-term election season, appeared
to offer a subtle critique of sitting congressional Republicans, who
last fall forced a budget impasse and a 16-day government shutdown
to avoid funding President Barack Obama's healthcare bill.
"We celebrate today courage in a moment of profound change and
challenge in a country gripped by partisan gridlock and inaction,"
In September 1990, two years into George H.W. Bush's first term, the
United States was saddled with a $200 billion budget deficit. Months
of partisan wrangling over possible tax increases and spending cuts
had ended in a stalemate.
[to top of second column]
Despite the potential political backlash, Bush announced a
compromise with congressional Democrats that would cut $500 billion
from the deficit in five years, in part by raising "luxury taxes" on
items including yachts and pricey cars, among other tax hikes.
"The time for politics and posturing is over," Bush said in an
October 1990 speech. "The time to come together is now."
The budget passed, but Bush's concession on a tax increase rankled
members of his party and stood at odds with his "no new taxes"
campaign promise. He lost re-election to Democrat Bill Clinton in
Bush thanked the foundation for the award in a statement read by his
granddaughter. He joked he had skipped the event due to suspicions
that broccoli might be served, a nod to his infamous ban on the
vegetable he disliked from Air Force One.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Marguerita Choy)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.