Bush Signs "Russert Highway" Into Law

ABC News' Matt Jaffe reports: President Bush Wednesday signed a law designating a stretch of Route 20A in upstate New York as "Timothy J. Russert Highway," in honor of the late NBC News journalist.

Tim Russert, NBC's Washington Bureau Chief and host of their Sunday interview program "Meet the Press," died of a heart attack on June 13.

The portion of Route 20A that will bear his name is located in Orchard Park, New York, just outside of Buffalo, Russert's hometown. The road is near Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, Russert's favorite football team. Russert would sometimes end his show by shouting, "Go Bills!"

The legislation to re-name the road was introduced on Capitol Hill by New York Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.

"Throughout his years in Washington he remained true to his roots, and more often than not on Sunday mornings during the football season he proclaimed his love for the Bills to a national audience as he signed off of 'Meet the Press'," said Clinton in a statement after the bill passed the House and Senate earlier this month. "When people drive through what will be the Timothy J. Russert Highway, I hope they are reminded of the man who always cheered on his hometown team."

Schumer, Clinton's fellow Democratic Senator from the Liberty State, also released a statement at the time recalling his appearances on Russert's show.

"I think any politician in Washington would tell you one of their favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning was visiting Tim on "Meet the Press" - even though you knew he was going to grill you! I know I’ll particularly miss those few minutes before we went on air, where Tim always took the time to talk about the Bills before getting down to business. By putting Tim Russert’s name on this portion of Route 20A, he will never be far from the town he never forgot."

The day of Russert's sudden death, the President and First Lady Laura Bush said that they were "deeply saddened" by his passing.

"Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him. As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it."

Russert is survived by his wife Maureen and his son Luke.

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