English as Official Language

On August 1, the House of Representatives, with my strong support, passed H.R. 123, the English Language Empowerment Act. H.R. 123 declares English the official language of the federal government. The bill would also require that all official government business be conducted in English and would repeal a federal law mandating that states with large concentrations of non-English-speaking voters provide bilingual voting ballots.

The United States has always been a land of immigrants, and English has long been the glue holding our multicultural America together. Indeed, it has historically been our common language and the language of opportunity in our nation. The purpose of H.R. 123 is to build upon our nation's historic tradition as a melting pot of diverse cultures from around the world, and to bind us together through the use of English as our common language.

Not only does the bill represent good sense, it also empowers individuals to become successful members of society. After all, our English language unites us as one nation. Moreover, our English language empowers each new generation of immigrants with access to the American dream. That's because without a common language, we are unable to contribute to America's exciting and diverse culture, share our dreams for America's future, or fully realize and participate in the opportunities that America has to offer. It is simply time for the federal government to recognize these realities.

While there remains much to be done to encourage new citizens to learn English, the House passage of H.R. 123 is certainly a good beginning.

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