No longer will Congress name a day, a week or a month for anyone's pet cause.
There'll be no more National Biomedical Research Days, National Random Acts of Kindness Weeks or National Trauma Awareness Months when the House is controlled by Republicans.The Republicans voted Wednesday to eliminate such "commemorative" legislation, claiming the constituent goodwill it brought wasn't worth the time and money.
"What the Democrats have said legitimately is that they believe government makes people feel good," said incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"What we are saying to people is we believe a smaller government with less of a burden, with less intrusion in your life will make you feel even better. . . . We'll offer lower taxes. They can offer more commemoratives."
Designating days, weeks and months for events or causes enables groups and organizations to get publicity for issues of importance to them. Any effort had to have the signatures of 218 House members and could not be used to promote a commercial interest.
Getting rid of the service would save about $300,000 a year and give Congress more time to devote to the issues in the Republicans' Contract With America, they said.
Some of the causes the House voted to commemorate last session: National Good Teen Day, National Family Week, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Veterans Golden Age Games Week, Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month and National Literacy Day.