Lawmakers want to include holiday greetings in mail to constituents

A bipartisan duo of House members is seeking to include holiday greetings in constituent correspondence.

On Monday, Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter to lawmakers claiming the Franking Commission should not be enforcing “political correctness.”

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“Over the weekend, you may have heard from your constituents or fellow colleagues that the House Franking Commission will not allow Members to include holiday greetings, such as ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ on their mail pieces and franked email newsletters,” the lawmakers wrote in a statement Monday.

“The Franking Commission should not be in the business of limiting Members from addressing their constituents in the manner they chose,” they added. “To address this matter, we are sending a bipartisan letter to Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] and Minority Leader [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] along with Chairman [Dan] Lungren [R-Calif.] and Ranking Member [Robert] Brady [D-Pa.] of the Committee on House Administration asking them to revise these unnecessary rules.”

According to the pair's letter, the mail “policy prevents Members of Congress from addressing their constituents in the manner in which they feel is best and is just one more way political correctness is slowly dismantling the meaning of the Christmas and Hanukkah season.”

“The purpose of the Franking Commission is to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to inform constituents of important matters and that franking privileges are not abused for political purposes,” the lawmakers continued. “We are not celebrating winter this December. We are celebrating significant moments in two religions that have fundamentally shaped our nation — and as Members of Congress who represent thousands of constituents celebrating these holidays, we ask you to reconsider these outdated and restrictive rules.”

Regulations prohibiting holiday greetings in franked mail are not new, however.

According to a staffer familiar with the franking committee guidelines, they fall under a U.S. code that has been on the books since 1974. Guidelines also prohibit other personal greetings, such as birthday, anniversary and condolence wishes.

Walsh and Ross have asked lawmakers to sign the letter to House leadership calling for a change in regulations by close of business Dec. 20.

— This story was updated at 6:17 p.m.