Walsh's Christmas mission is successful

  • Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh wraps up a phone call with a constituent in his Cannon House office in Washington, D.C.

    Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh wraps up a phone call with a constituent in his Cannon House office in Washington, D.C. Daily Herald Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.

and Projects Writer
Updated 12/23/2011 6:11 PM

Congressman Joe Walsh frequently tells constituents that he's working for a revolution, taking the country back from excessive government regulation, regulation that apparently extends as far as holiday greetings.

The McHenry Tea Partyer was a key player in helping to overturn a policy preventing members of Congress from sending Christmas or Hanukkah wishes paid for with taxpayer dollars.


Walsh, along with Arkansas Democratic Rep. Mike Ross began circulating earlier this week a letter asking for revision of the policy -- in place since 1974 -- that prevented lawmakers from using holiday greetings in official correspondence.

The two claim that the policy "prevents Members of Congress from addressing their constituents in the manner in which they feel is best and is just one more way political correctness is slowly dismantling the meaning of the Christmas and Hannukah season."

An uproar ensued -- with more than 60 colleagues also signing onto the letter.

Friday afternoon, the beltway paper The Hill reported that House leaders have now received new guidelines on holiday correspondence.

"The Franking Commission has spent the last year coming up with a whole host of revisions, and those are before the leadership now awaiting approval," Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, the chairman of the House Franking Commission, told the paper.

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Walsh told The Daily Herald Friday evening that he was pleased his voice had been heard on the issue, one that Democrats and Republicans -- who had been battling one another all week on the payroll tax issue -- could come together on.

"It's either an anti-religious bent or there's (some) real worrying about political correctness and that's just crazy," Walsh said.

Walsh and his wife, Helene, and their five children celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah in their McHenry home.

Both in his house and at his district offices, Walsh said, "We don't say 'Happy Holidays.' ... I tell my staff: It's 'Merry Christmas,' it's 'Happy Hannukah.'"

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