Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today cosponsored the National Language Act of 2008 that would establish English as the national language of the United States.
“One of America’s greatest accomplishments is the manner in which we unite our magnificent diversity, and one way we have done that is by speaking a common language, English,” said Alexander, who in March led a successful effort to pass legislation in the Senate aimed at increasing funding to a grant program that supports English language teaching. “The federal government should value our common language, not devalue it. We can do the right thing by establishing English as our national language so that America remains one united country.”
The National Language Act of 2008, introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), would save over $1 billion each year in taxpayer dollars currently used to provide federal forms and perform services in languages other than English, according to the Office of Management and Budget. It is nearly identical to an Inhofe-Alexander Amendment to last year’s Immigration bill that was approved by the Senate 64-33 on June 6, 2007. This legislation would make an exception for the use of another language when that language is specifically authorized or provided for by the law.
Alexander is a longtime proponent of encouraging the use of English as our common language. Most recently, he led the successful effort to pass legislation in the Senate transferring funds used by the government to prosecute organizations like the Salvation Army for requiring English in the workplace to a grant program that supports English language teaching. This amendment to the FY09 Budget Resolution would provide $670,000 to the Department of Education’s English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant Program to promote the teaching of English and civics to legal immigrants. The money would come from funding used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to prosecute organizations like the Salvation Army for requiring English in the workplace. The amendment passed the Senate last month by a vote of 54-44.