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Lawmakers Want Congressional Gold Medal for Aretha Franklin

American musician Aretha Franklin performs on stage at the Park West Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 1992. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers is introducing legislation to honor Aretha Franklin posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The “Queen of Soul,” who died last week at 76, “instilled hope, uplifted generations, and changed the lives of millions,” according to the bill introduced Tuesday by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. They were joined by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican, Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and the senators from her home state of Tennessee.

Harris called Franklin’s songs “the soundtrack of my childhood.”

Hatch said she “touched the hearts of millions, lifting all of us with songs of hope and humanity.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest commendation from Congress and was first awarded to George Washington.

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