Flag Flap

Posted October 10, 2007 at 6:39pm

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) introduced a bill this week that would require the Architect of the Capitol to allow the word “God” on flag certificates, continuing his fight over an AOC policy that prohibits such language. [IMGCAP(1)]

Last week, dozens of Members rallied against the policy, which bans any religious expression in the certificates that accompany flags flown over the Capitol. The House Administration Committee is working to come up with a compromise, perhaps allowing Members to present an uncensored message to their constituents along with a certificate of authenticity from the Architect.

The controversy began when Turner submitted to the AOC a certificate, on behalf of a 17-year-old constituent, which read, “This flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, Country, and family.” Acting Architect Stephen Ayers approved the certificate only after taking out the word “God,” sparking outrage from several Members.

Lawmakers continued to express their disdain for the rule this week. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) joined the cause Wednesday, sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asking her to “do the right thing” by immediately instructing the Architect to disregard the religious policy.

“We are One Nation Under God,” he wrote, “and the rules and procedures of our national legislature should continue to reflect it.”

Foreign Addition. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is returning temporarily to the House Foreign Affairs Committee to take the seat previously held by Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), who died Saturday after a bout with breast cancer.

Blunt has been on leave from Foreign Affairs because of his leadership position and will rejoin the panel as its ninth-most senior Republican until a permanent replacement for Davis on the committee is selected.

“I’m proud to be returning to the Foreign Affairs Committee, but saddened by the circumstances that have made this return possible,” Blunt said in a statement.

Davis also served on the Armed Services Committee; her slot on that panel has not yet been filled.

Merger Movement. The House Administration Committee has scheduled a markup next week on the bill that sets the terms of the merger between the Capitol Police and Library of Congress force.

The markup is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Longworth House Office Building. Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and ranking member Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) are sponsors of the measure, which would begin the merger process almost immediately after passage.

Wednesday should be busy for House Administration: The panel also is expected to conduct an oversight hearing of the Capitol Visitor Center.

— Emily Yehle, Ben Pershing and Elizabeth Brotherton