GOP seeks to remove Clinton order requiring multilingual federal services

A group of GOP lawmakers wants to eliminate a Clinton-era order meant to ensure people who don't speak English can still receive federal government services. 

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and other GOP lawmakers re-introduced legislation last week that would repeal a 2000 executive order in which then-President Clinton ordered all federal agencies to develop a plan for delivering their services to people with "limited English proficiency," or LEP.

The bill, H.R. 1246, would eliminate Executive Order 13166, which Clinton signed aboard Air Force One in August 2000. That order required each federal agency to "examine the services it provides and develop and implement a system by which LEP persons can meaningfully access those services."

Passing the bill into law would likely reduce government spending, but it is difficult to estimate the savings. In 2002, the Office of Management and Budget said the costs of the executive order are likely less than $2 billion per year, and maybe less than $1 billion per year, although the government has nearly doubled in size since that estimate was made.

In addition, only 10 federal agencies had begun to implement the executive order at the time of the OMB report.

King, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, is the lead sponsor of the bill, which is similar to a bill he introduced in the last Congress. Also sponsoring the bill are GOP Reps. Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Elton Gallegly (Calif.), Steve King (Iowa), Gary Miller (Calif.), Sue Myrick (N.C.) and Ron Paul (Texas).

In March, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced a bill that would declare English the official language of the U.S., and would establish English-language tests for people applying for U.S. citizenship.