House GOP closer to vote on making English the official language
By Molly K. Hooper - 01/31/12 05:00 AM ET
Spurred by Republicans running for the White House, GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill are moving closer to a vote that would make English the official language of the United States.
Republicans believe a vote on the bipartisan measure would put the Obama administration on the defensive. President Obama voted against the effort when he served in the Senate.
GOP White House hopefuls, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), have clashed on immigration reform, but they have united on officially recognizing the English language.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an ardent illegal immigration foe who has introduced the “English Language Unity Act of 2011,” sees a clear policy and political opportunity for his party.
“It’s one of those 84 percent [approval] issues. I don’t know what the [Republican] leaders have up on the board that is more popular than official English,” King said in an interview with The Hill.
King’s measure has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Judiciary panel, told The Hill: “I support efforts to make English the official language and may consider bringing up the issue in the House Judiciary Committee down the road.”