OPIOID SERIES:

Bill mandates English for Pledge, anthem

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes MORE (R-Tenn.) introduced a resolution yesterday calling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other traditional patriotic compositions to be recited or sung solely in English.

The resolution states that the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and other “statements or songs that symbolize the unity of the nation … should be recited or sung in English, the common language of the United States.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill, as did Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonNow is the time to modernize the OTC monograph system Overnight Health Care: GOP pushes stiff work requirements for food stamps | Johnny Isakson opens up about family's tragic loss to opioids | Republicans refuse to back vulnerable Dem's opioids bill | Dems offer new public option plan The Hill's Morning Report: Haley clashes with White House MORE (R-Ga.), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators raise concerns about babies on Senate floor Senate passes resolution allowing Duckworth to bring baby on floor Kill off anti-environmental excesses in the farm bill MORE (R-Kan.), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

The legislation is a response to a Spanish-language version of the national anthem, “Nuestro Himno,” which was released Friday.

Alexander said on the chamber floor, “I worry, Mr. President, that translating our national anthem will actually have the effect of dividing us. It adds to the celebration of multiculturalism in our society, which has eroded our understanding of our common American culture.

“We wouldn’t recite the Pledge in French, or German, or Russian, or Hindi, or even Chinese ... and we shouldn’t sing the national anthem in Spanish, or any other foreign language.”

President Bush weighed in during a briefing with reporters Friday, stating, “I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

The legislation was introduced as hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in a nationwide rally and economic boycott to protest recent immigration initiatives by Congress.