The United States Congress established The Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, service, and achievement in young people. It began as a bipartisan effort in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. The original bill was sponsored by Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and Congressman James Howard of New Jersey. The enabling legislation (Public Law 96-114) established The Congressional Award as a private-public partnership, which receives all funding from the private sector. The legislation was originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump have each signed continuing legislation.