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H.R. 997, The English Language Unity Act, Soars Past 100 Co-Sponsors

The addition of four new supporters renews call for consideration and passage

November 5, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C. –With the addition of four new co-sponsors, Reps. Robert Aderholt (AL), Max Burns (GA), John Abney Culberson (TX) and Dana Rohrbacher (CA), the English Language Unity Act now has the support of 102 House members, nearly a quarter of the legislative body. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in February, H.R. 997 would make English the official language of the United States government.

Reaching triple digits in co-sponsors is rarified air for legislation in the House of Representatives. Of the more than 4,000 House Bills (H.R.) introduced in the 108th Congress, fewer than 150 have garnered co-sponsorships from 100 or more members. H.R. 997 represents the seventh time in the past seven Congresses that an official English bill has reached this pinnacle.

As in previous occasions, the clout behind H.R. 997 represents a broad cross-section of the United States. The bi-partisan list of co-sponsors, along with lead sponsor Steve King, covers urban and rural portions of 33 states. According to the Census, the list of supporters represent more than 2.5 million limited English proficient (LEP) persons, including 12 members who cover more than 50,000 LEP individuals in a single district.

Official English measures have long been popular with the public and those elected to serve in Washington. For nearly a generation, polls have found support for making English the official language among four-fifths of the population, including a 2002 Tarrance Group poll which pegged the rate at 84 percent. At the Congressional level, more than 550 Members of Congress representing all 50 states have sponsored, co-sponsored or voted for official English measures an astounding 2,479 times since 1981.

“We’re glad to welcome the newest supporters of this unifying, pro-America legislation,” said U.S. English, Inc. Chairman Mauro E. Mujica. “Establishing English as the official language of the United States is a proud effort started by S.I. Hayakawa and joined by many others in the halls of Congress. Now it is time for the House leadership to step up to the plate and bring this bill to the floor for a vote.”

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