The four legislative leaders who negotiated a 2009 budget deal to address California’s budget deficit with tax increases have been awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announced Tuesday.
The awards went to Dave Cogdill, the Senate Republican leader at the time; Mike Villines, then the Assembly’s GOP leader; and then-Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate President Darrell Steinberg, both Democrats.
They were honored “in recognition of the political courage each demonstrated in standing up to the extraordinary constituent and party pressure they faced while working with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to address California’s severe financial crisis,” the library said in a statement.
Democrats control the state Legislature, but because two-thirds approval is needed to pass budgets and raise taxes, some Republican votes were needed.
Republicans ousted Cogdill and Villines from their party leadership positions shortly after the budget passed because of their support for the temporary increases to the state’s income and sales taxes.
Caroline Kennedy will present the awards to the foursome May 24 at a ceremony in Boston.