Resolved: Resolutions are silly

Recently I added a feed from to my RSS reader, just out of curiosity. I thought it might be interesting to see just what keeps Congress busy these days and to follow the life cycle of a bill. What I found is, sadly, it’s a bit like reading C-SPAN. I also discovered that both the House and the Senate spend a large portion of their time on resolutions.

As near as I can tell, Congressional Resolutions are mostly just the formal expression of something which is pretty obviously a good thing or occasionally the equivalent of a greeting card on behalf of the government. For example: everyone knows that the Sun is good. So, some elected official decides that we need to make sure that the rest of the nation knows that your government is very much in favor of the Sun and the life that it so selflessly nurtures. And so a resolution is drawn up expressing what a good thing the Sun is, introduced, debated, and voted upon by both houses of Congress. Next thing you know, we’re all celebrating National Sol Awareness Month. In the meantime the Vice President has continued tweaking the Constitution of the United States to his liking…

So anyway, here’s a list of some of the resolutions that were acted on by Congress over the past two days:

  • House passed H. Res. 505: Recognizing the innumerable contributions of the recreational boating community and the boating industry to the continuing prosperity and affluence of the United States.
  • House passed H. Res. 189: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” should be established.
  • Senate passed S. Res. 256: A resolution designating June 2007 as “National Aphasia Awareness Month” and supporting efforts to increase awareness of aphasia.
  • Senate passed S. Res. 235: A resolution designating July 1, 2007, as “National Boating Day”.
  • Sen. Richard Lugar [R-IN] introduced S.Res. 253: A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the establishment of a Museum of the History of American Diplomacy through private donations is a worthy endeavor.
  • House Passed H. Res. 416: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the public service of Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • House passed H. Res. 361: Recognizing and honoring Jack Valenti and expressing the condolences of the House of Representatives to his family on his death
  • House passed H. Con. Res. 142: Expressing the sense of the Congress that there should be established a National Pet Week.
  • House passed H. Res. 477: Recognizing National Homeownership Month and the importance of homeownership in the United States.
  • House passed H. Res. 513: Supporting the goals and ideals of National Save for Retirement Week.
  • Senate passed S. Res. 230: A resolution designating the month of July 2007, as “National Teen Safe Driver Month”.
  • Senate passed S. Res. 225: A resolution designating the month of August 2007 as “National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month”.
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks [D-NY] introduced H. Res. 518: Recognizing the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence.
  • Rep. Silvestre Reyes [D-TX] introduced H.Res. 519: Honoring the life and accomplishments of renowned artist Tom Lea on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
  • Senate passed S. Res. 257: A resolution congratulating the University of California at Los Angeles for becoming the first university to win 100 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I team titles.
  • Sen. John Isakson [R-GA] introduced S.Res. 255: A resolution recognizing and supporting the long distance runs that will take place in the People’s Republic of China in 2007 and the United States in 2008 to promote friendship between the peoples of China and the United States.

Good stuff, no? For almost all of these, you’d think that no further elaboration was required beyond the title of the resolution. Not so. Here’s an example:


1st Session

H. CON. RES. 142

Expressing the sense of the Congress that there should be established a National Pet Week.


May 3, 2007

Mr. SHAYS (for himself, Mr. LANTOS, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. MOORE of Kansas, and Mr. KIRK) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


Expressing the sense of the Congress that there should be established a National Pet Week.

Whereas May 6 to May 12, 2007, marks 26th anniversary of `National Pet Week’, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association;

Whereas animals and pets give companionship and pleasure in daily living, share the homes of nearly 69,000,000 individuals or families in the United States, and provide special benefits to elderly persons and children;

Whereas the people of the United States have a firm commitment to promote responsible care of animals and pets and guard against cruel and irresponsible treatment;

Whereas teaching kindness and respect for all living animals through education in schools and communities is essential to the basic values of a humane and civilized society;

Whereas the people of the United States are grateful to the veterinary medical profession for providing preventive and emergency medical care and assistance to animals, spaying and neutering animals to combat overpopulation, and contributing to the education of animal owners; and

Whereas the people of the United States are indebted to animal protection organizations, State humane organizations, and local animal care and control agencies for promoting respect for animals and pets, educating children about humane attitudes, and caring for lost, unwanted, abused, and abandoned animals: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress–

      (1) that there should be established a National Pet Week; and

      (2) the people of the United States should observe National Pet Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

The only thing I’m left wondering, is what exactly are the appropriate ceremonies and activities for National Pet Week?