Despite objections from secularists, the phrase "In God We Trust" has been the official motto of the United States since 1956. It is emblazoned on every denomination of coinage and paper currency, and is therefore present in every home and business in the entire country. We carry it with us in our wallets and purses and pockets wherever we go, nearly every day until we die. In other words, it is not nearly ubiquitous enough, says Republican congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia:
The measure, which is sponsored by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), would encourage public buildings, schools and government facilities to display the phrase. It declares that “In God We Trust” and sentiments behind it have been an “integral” part of the United States, and “in times of national challenge or tragedy, the people of the United States have turned to God as their source for sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction.”
Truly a pressing issue. Unfortunately for Forbes, the Republican House came into power promising a more efficient government and laserlike focus on the economy. It doesn't have the time or taxpayer money to waste on meaningless gestures like this one. In fact, it has specifically outlawed them, as the Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez points out:
At the beginning of the 112th Congress, House Republicans instituted new rules against most symbolic and commemorative resolutions, arguing that such measures were wasteful and made up one-third of all legislation considered by the previous Congress.
The new rules bar consideration of any measure that “expresses appreciation, commends, congratulates, celebrates, recognizes the accomplishments of, or celebrates the anniversary of, an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program; or acknowledges or recognizes a period of time for such purposes.”
The House GOP takes the rule so seriously, it didn't even pass a resolution congratulating the armed forces and intelligence community after Osama bin Laden was killed in May, because, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor explained then, "we’ve said since we assumed the majority that we want to be substantive and meaningful."
So tough luck, Forbes. Guess you'll just have to — wait, what? Seriously?
Republicans may be trying to focus their messaging on jobs and the economy — and hammering President Barack Obama for campaigning — but they still have time for some red meat base-baiting on the House floor.
To wit: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (Va.) decision to bring to the floor a measure that “reaffirms ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States....
To be fair, it's not as if voting on Forbes's dumb "reaffirming that our motto is still our motto" resolution is going to distract Congress from all of the actually important things that it's not working on.