House Speaker Newt Gingrich is considering a proposal to name the Justice Department headquarters after Robert F. Kennedy to smooth the way to rename National Airport after President Reagan.
House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt approached Gingrich this week about pairing the proposals. The Ronald Reagan Airport legislation, supported by many Republicans, is scheduled for a House vote next week.
Gephardt has been looking for an appropriate way to memorialize the late attorney general he considers one of his political heroes, Gephardt’s spokeswoman, Laura Nichols, said Thursday. The future of RFK Stadium, no longer used by the Washington Redskins football team, is uncertain.
The Republican initiative to rename National Airport before Reagan’s birthday on Feb. 6 gave Gephardt the idea of renaming the Justice Department for Robert Kennedy, said Nichols.
Kennedy was the father of Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II, the Brighton Democrat, and the brother of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Joseph Kennedy said Thursday he welcomed the gesture. “My family and I have always been proud of my father’s record of public service and feel honored by those in Congress who want to memorialize him,” he said.
Gingrich is considering the Democratic proposal and has indicated to some members of Congress that he views it as a possible way to avoid a partisan battle over the airport bill.