Official English Bill Gets a Hearing
Print Friendly and PDF

The legislation written by sovereignty stalwart Steve King (R-Iowa, pictured) was examined Thursday in a hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.

You would think that a policy supported by an overwhelming majority of American citizens would get a little respect (e.g. a 2010 Rasmussen poll found 87 percent of voters support official English).

But no. One measure of disrespect was the incorrect characterization of the bill by Fox News in the title of its article: King touts English-only bill at hearing, Dem rep mocks by delivering remarks in Spanish.

English ONLY implies that non-English speakers must abandon their languages — not the case with “official” English which is far more limited. King’s bill (HB 997 text) affects only a small area of government functions, like requiring that naturalization ceremonies be held in English.

As alluded to above, another sign of incivility was rude Congressman John Conyers responding to King in lame Spanish (Watch). Conyers represents Detroit and yes, his wife is still in prison for corruption.

Below, Congressman King defended his bill in a July 25 interview on Fox News, in which the questions seemed unnecessarily snotty:

CNS’s report was at least informational, and lacked the snark of Fox.

Rep. King: English Language ‘Binds Us,’ Obama Administration ‘Divides Us’, CNS News, August 2, 2012

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is sponsoring a bill to make English the official language of the United States – a law he said will help “bind” Americans together at a time when the Obama administration is trying to create divisions between people.

When asked why the bill should be passed, King said the “English Language Unity Act of 2012,” (H.R. 997) will unify the country.

“An official language binds us together, and there are concerted efforts on the part of the leftists in America to subdivide this country a lot of ways – down the lines of race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, profitability, class warfare,” King said. “And the Obama administration’s dividing America and an administration that’s promoting multilingualism as a function of government.

“Multilingualism is fine, but not as a function of government,because it confuses us and, it divides us, and it pits us against each other,” King said.

Thursday’s hearing of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution had two panels, including one featuring the bill’s sponsor and subcommittee member King, who has been joined in his efforts by 122 co-sponsors.

“A common language is the most powerful unifying force the world has ever known. It is more powerful than race, color, religion, sex or national origin,” King said in his prepared remarks. “The unifying official language does not have to be English, yet we are fortunate the common language of the United States of America is English.

“English is the international language of commerce, politics, maritime, and of air traffic control,” King said. “English is an incredible unifying force uniting America, knocking down ethnic, religious, and cultural barriers to make us one and is the modern lingua franca of the world.

“Today as we rally for unity and patriotism, our common form of communications currency binds us together and propels us toward our destiny,” King said.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the subcommittee, said King’s bill will “place at risk” people in the United States who need language help from “their government.”

“Having already spent an extraordinary amount of committee time and resources in an effort to roll back the civil rights of women, persons with disabilities, gay and lesbian Americans and other minorities, our majority colleagues are now taking their last opportunity to highlight a bill that would place at risk 24.5 million people in the United States who need language assistance from their government in some situations.”

The bill amends Title 4 of the U.S. Code, making English the official language of the federal government so that all government business will be done in English, including naturalization proceedings.

The bill states that part of preserving and enhancing the use of English “shall include encouraging greater opportunities for individuals to learn the English language.”

The bill also does not “prohibit a member of Congress or any officer or agent of the federal government, while performing official functions, from communicating unofficially through any medium with another person in a language other than English.”

King said that while there is some partisan disagreement about his bill, most committee members agree English is the common language of the United States and should be preserved.

“An official language binds us together,” King told “Now we are unified in that consensus in this committee.

“For this committee to agree on anything is pretty rare and generally speaking Democrats and Republicans on this panel agree that our common language – English – binds us together as a people.”

Print Friendly and PDF