Bill mandates English for Pledge, anthem

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (R-Tenn.) introduced a resolution yesterday calling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other traditional patriotic compositions to be recited or sung solely in English.

The resolution states that the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and other “statements or songs that symbolize the unity of the nation … should be recited or sung in English, the common language of the United States.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill, as did Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report Garland confirmation vital to fair consideration of SCOTUS cases GOP urged to confirm Supreme Court nominee after Trump win MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonSenate approves new Veterans Affairs watchdog Overnight Regulation: Republicans move to block financial adviser rule Senate Republicans move to block financial adviser rule MORE (R-Ga.), Pat RobertsPat RobertsLet’s stand with retired military leaders to get healthy school meals over the finish line Investments in research and development are investments in American jobs GOP senator blocks Obama Army nominee over Guantanamo MORE (R-Kan.), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

The legislation is a response to a Spanish-language version of the national anthem, “Nuestro Himno,” which was released Friday.

Alexander said on the chamber floor, “I worry, Mr. President, that translating our national anthem will actually have the effect of dividing us. It adds to the celebration of multiculturalism in our society, which has eroded our understanding of our common American culture.

“We wouldn’t recite the Pledge in French, or German, or Russian, or Hindi, or even Chinese ... and we shouldn’t sing the national anthem in Spanish, or any other foreign language.”

President Bush weighed in during a briefing with reporters Friday, stating, “I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

The legislation was introduced as hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in a nationwide rally and economic boycott to protest recent immigration initiatives by Congress.