War on Christmas ends as House allows members to send Christmas, Hanukkah greetings

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The War on Christmas is over. Members of Congress may now include holiday greetings in mailings to their constituents, following a change in policy by the House Franking Commission.

Until Wednesday, any expression of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Holidays,” or the like was forbidden from official congressional correspondence. The postage on such correspondence is paid for with taxpayer money, or “franked,” so there are regulations to ensure that members do not abuse taxpayer funds for their personal use.

But Republican Rep. Candice Miller, who chairs the Franking Committee, has changed that policy.

“As Chairman of the House Franking Commission, I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Members of the House may include holiday greetings in their communications to constituents,” Miller said in a statement.

Members are still not allowed to send holiday cards on the taxpayer dime, but the sentiment can be included in mailings related to other topics.

“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,” Miller added.

“Since we begin every session of congress with a prayer, and ‘In God We Trust’ is stamped in stone actually above the Speaker’s chair at the front of the chamber of the House of Representatives, I just could never understand why such a greeting would not be allowed in communication with my constituents,” Miller said in a video posted on the House Administration Committee homepage.

“Holidays mark a time of year where we come together and reflect on the blessings that we have received and the meaning behind a holiday salutations transcends certainly across our diverse nation. These greetings are just one way in which we wish joy, peace, and the chance for renewal for everyone,” she went on.

Last year, the rule against holiday greetings caused an uproar, with a number of members of congress loudly demanding that they be allowed to include such wishes in official correspondence. Letters were sent and parodies were made, and now, members of congress can toast the holidays to their hearts’ content.

“And I wish everyone a very, merry, merry Christmas,” Miller concluded in her video, “and a wonderful holiday season.”

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