U.S. Rep. Bill Young (R FL-13)
Bay Pines, Florida -- Congress is moving quickly to honor the late Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young by naming the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bay Pines after the long-term lawmaker, who was a champion for military troops and veterans.
Young, the longest-serving Republican House member, died Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington. He was 82 and had been hospitalized following back surgery.
The House could vote as early as Wednesday to rename the Pinellas County facility, known formally as the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, under legislation sponsored by House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Florida.
Florida's two senators -- Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio -- also have filed legislation to name the center after Young.
"Bill set the standard for what it means to support the troops, and his legacy of service will live on for countless years to come," Miller said.
Young, first elected in 1970, is best known for his long-time service on the House Appropriations Committee, where he was influential in securing millions of dollars for military contracts and special projects in his district and throughout Florida.
He had announced he would not seek re-election in 2014, telling the Tampa Bay Times in an interview last week, "it's my time" to retire.
Young also cited his health -- he had back problems for years and underwent open heart surgery in 1996 -- and a desire to spend more time with his family.
Known as a genial and moderate Republican in an increasingly shrill and partisan House, Young came to Washington in 1971 after serving in the Florida Senate -- including a stint as the chamber's minority leader.