Bill mandates English for Pledge, anthem

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate committee vote on DeVos postponed Cheney calls for DeVos to be confirmed ‘promptly’ With Trump pick Tom Price, cool heads can prevail on health reform 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 McConnellSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Trump takes first official acts at signing ceremony MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump, Democrats can bridge divide to make college more affordable Trump picks Obama nominee for VA secretary Five races to watch in 2017 MORE (R-Ga.), Pat RobertsPat RobertsOvernight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing Hearing derailed after senator suggests colleague needs Valium Live coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick 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.