Paul Singer, USA Today
WASHINGTON - Wading into the "war on Christmas" furies, the committee
that runs operations of the House of Representatives issued a policy
allowing lawmakers to include holiday greetings in official mail to
In an announcement Wednesday, House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller, R-Mich., wrote:
am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Members of the
House may include holiday greetings in their communications to
constituents. In the past, including any form of a holiday greeting was
banned. While still prohibiting the misuse of official funds, this new
commonsense policy allows Members to share their holiday wishes with
constituents in otherwise official communications. 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. "
of Congress are given free postage - called "franking" - to send
official mail to their constituents, but the contents of that mail are
regulated by a congressional "Franking Commission," which Miller also
chairs. The general rule is that mailings sent out under the frank are
supposed to be official business only, not political material -
newsletters describing the lawmakers' legislation or announcing public
events in the district, that sort of thing.
The House apparently concluded that being official does not have to mean being unfestive.