In Washington, lawmakers in the U.S. House voted 234-195 against the Farm Bill, a half-trillion-dollar bill that, among other things, would have sliced $2 billion a year from the federal food-stamp program. (Alabama’s House members were consistent: six Republican “yes” votes, one Democratic “no” vote.)
That, obviously, has nothing to do with Christmas.
Nevertheless, in a stroke of curious journalism, editors at the Washington Post uncovered an interesting nugget buried in what reporter Emily Heil described as the “veritable cornucopia of amendments to the farm bill.”
Here’s where Christmas — in June — comes in.
U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., sponsored a Farm Bill amendment that would have defeated a 15-cent-per-tree fee to Christmas tree sales. Walorski, the Post reported, called the dime-and-nickel addition a tax on middle-class families, which they can’t afford. “There is no justification to impose another tax on the American people,” Walorski said.
In case you’re wondering, the 15-cent fee (or tax, if you prefer) will be used to pay for promotional campaigns for the Christmas tree industry. There’s nothing nefarious about that.
Thus, those who think political correctness is leading the charge against Americans’ right to celebrate Christ’s birth as they wish, they now have Washington politics to include in their gripes. They can either complain about the Indiana Republican whose amendment would have thwarted televised Christmas tree ads, or they can complain about those who want to commercialize the capitalist action of spending money to make money on Christmas-related items.
Either way, it’s hardly a pressing item in Washington.
The House version of the Farm Bill is simply another example of how lawmakers can either slow down, speed up, doom or ensure passage of all manners of legislation. Everybody elected on Capitol Hill wants something. Getting those desires through Congress takes lots of work, some of it strange as it may be.