Candy saves Christmas
By CHAD SELWESKI
Taking a stand in the so-called “War on Christmas,” Congresswoman Candice Miller ushered in a rule change on Capitol Hill that lets lawmakers, for the first time in 40 years, address constituents with a Merry Christmas greeting by mail.
“This whole politically correct thing has totally gone too far. Good Lord,” said Miller, explaining her decision.
The Harrison Township Republican was appointed a few weeks ago to serve as the chair of the House Franking Commission, which oversees the tax-funded letters and brochures that House members send to constituents.
Miller bristled when staffers told her that, during the holiday season, she should be prepared to defend the ban on festive greetings to constituents, which was initiated by a 1973 law.
“I said, ‘You know, that’s ridiculous. We’ve got to get that changed,” the congresswoman recalled. “I was told, ‘Well … it’s been that way for a long time.’”
Miller, who also chairs the Committee on House Administration which handles day-to-day operations of the lower chamber, pushed for the rule change and received unanimous, bipartisan approval from the Franking Commission. The new standard will not allow lawmakers to send Christmas cards on the taxpayers’ dime, but it will allow “incidental” holiday salutations within mailings and emails that discuss issues before Congress.
After the vote, Miller issued a statement:
“… I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, members of the House may include holiday greetings in their communications to constituents. In the past, including any form of a holiday greeting was banned. While still prohibiting the misuse of official funds, this new common-sense policy allows members to share their holiday wishes with constituents in otherwise official communications. I feel it is entirely appropriate for members of Congress to include a simple holiday salutation, whether it is Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and so on.”
The response was startling. Within hours, Miller began receiving messages of thanks from many of her House colleagues and phone calls from news reporters across the country.