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The House GOP Can’t Even Agree On A Resolution Honoring Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on 19 March 2013.

House Republicans can’t even muster the votes to pass a banal resolution honoring Pope Francis:

How partisan and unproductive is the current Congress?

The epitome of its dysfunction may have arrived with last week’s wrap-up before a five-week summer recess, as House Republicans failed to pass their own scaled-back bill on the border children crisis on Thursday. Realizing how bad that looked, lawmakers returned Friday to pass an even more severe bill that had no chance of going anywhere.

But a better gauge of the problem may be the fact that despite the almost universal popularity of Pope Francis, the House of Representatives was unable to muster enough bipartisan support to pass a resolution lauding Francis’ election — nearly 18 months ago.

The bill, H.Res. 440, seems straightforward, as it aims to congratulate Francis on his March 2013 election and recognize “his inspirational statements and actions.”

The main obstacle, however, is that Francis may be viewed as “too liberal” by many political conservatives, a belief that has also unsettled many Catholic conservatives.

An unnamed Republican backer of the legislation told The Hill newspaper last week that the pope is “sounding like [President Barack] Obama” because he “talks about equality” and he has blasted “trickle-down economics,” a favorite theory of many conservatives and “politically charged,” as the GOP official said.

Even though the bill has New York Rep. Peter King, a reliably conservative Republican, as a chief co-sponsor (along with Democrat John Larson of Connecticut, also a Catholic), it has failed to catch on with the GOP. The resolution has 223 co-sponsors altogether, but just 20 are Republicans.

The resolution was introduced in December but has been stuck in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Larson urged Speaker John Boehner, a Republican and a Catholic who earlier this year issued a formal invitation to Francis to address a joint session of Congress when the pope is expected to visit the U.S. next year, to bring the resolution to the floor before Friday’s adjournment, but it didn’t happen.

Quite honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me at all that  Republican resistance to a resolution like this is rooted in what has been reported about Francis’s statements on economics and income inequality. The fact that everything that’s he’s said is perfectly in line with long-standing Catholic positions on these issues, and that they have also been said by his predecessors including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. Pope John Paul II doesn’t seem to matter either to these Republicans, or to the conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh who have criticized the Pope when these comments have become public.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that Congress has become so divided thanks to Republican intransigence that they can’t even agree on a essentially meaningless resolution saying that the new Pope is a nice guy.

H/T: Andrew Sullivan

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    The fact that everything that’s he’s said is perfectly in line with long-standing Catholic positions on these issues, and that they have also been said by his predecessors including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. Pope John Paul II doesn’t seem to matter either to these Republicans

    Well, those predecessors weren’t focusing on it to the extent Francis is. They were nice enough to stick to sexual mores and theological rigidity as foci. That’s something a cultural conservative can get on board with.

    Is it just me or are you more exasperated with Congress than usual, Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  2. Ravi says:

    Hold on a second. The last time I checked, 223 is greater than 218. So if brought to the floor, this should pass, right?

    If so, the problem isn’t even mustering the votes. It’s mustering the will to bring this banal resolution to the floor at all. Wow. Let’s hope Congress doesn’t need to name any post offices soon, I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Barry says:

    Doug: ” The fact that everything that’s he’s said is perfectly in line with long-standing Catholic positions on these issues, and that they have also been said by his predecessors including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. Pope John Paul II doesn’t seem to matter either to these Republicans, or to the conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh who have criticized the Pope when these comments have become public.”

    The thing is that Francis seems to think that these are not just things to be said, and then ignored. That’s a huge difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  4. Janis Gore says:

    As my mother-in-law, a strict Southern Baptist, would say, “He seems to be a good Christian man even if he is Catholic.”

    For real. She said it about a young woman who lived down the street from her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. I do find it somewhat amusing that we have an atheist libertarian who dislikes religious leaders being involved in politics complaining that the government is failing to sufficiently honor a religious leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  6. Am I the only one who thinks this is okay, because the House shouldn’t be approving or disapproving of different religions’ leaders to begin with?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. stonetools says:

    The fact that everything that’s he’s said is perfectly in line with long-standing Catholic positions on these issues,

    And indeed in line with the founder of the faith of Pope Francis and (ostensibly) that of most of the House GOP members. The conservative Jesus must be an interesting person:

    “You were hungry and I eliminiated food stamp funding, You were sick and Idenied you health care, etc.

    OTOH, carrying an AR15 to church is not only a right , but a sacred obligation!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It is really very simple. This pope knows his Bible and it drives Conservatives up the wall when they can’t cherry pick it.

    Luke 6:20-26.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  9. C. Clavin says:

    This is a source of near constant fascination for me.
    The problem is that Republicans…who are all about this being a Christian nation…seemingly have no idea what Christ was about. Francis is indeed preaching what Christ preached. Yet Republicans are revolted by the very ideas themselves.
    You see the same thing in the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Judaism teaches compassion and generosity, and is against oppression. But the actions of the political entity that is the Jewish state are diametrically opposed to anything taught in the Torah.
    The hypocrisy in those who insist on claiming the religious mantle is truly awe-inspiring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  10. Franklin says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I can agree with you. But I just think Doug is pointing this out because they would normally pass such a banal resolution in the past, and now they’re not because *everything* *must* be politicized at *all* times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Honestly, Congress passes boilerplate resolutions approving or disapproving of any number of people or things in any number of areas of life. They shouldn’t bother to at all, but they do. It’s not like they can make laws or something useful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Ameda says:

    If the Pope had joined the Hobby Lobby lawsuit I’m sure that the House GOP would have no problem with a resolution honoring Pope Francis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0