Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Wolf Wants Washington’s Birthday Restored to Correct Date

Rep. Frank Wolf

Wolf wants George Washington’s birthday celebrated on the correct date. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Frank R. Wolf wants George Washington’s birthday celebrated on … well, his birthday.

Thanks to the Virginia Republican, a longtime admirer of the nation’s first president, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Interior Department’s annual budget Tuesday instructing the agency to move the holiday for Washington’s birthday back to his actual birthday, Feb. 22.

The official celebration of George Washington’s birthday was moved to the third Monday in February in 1971 and has since come to be known as Presidents’ Day, even though the law was never changed to recognize other presidents.

Wolf’s amendment is supported by George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and a number of leading authors and historians, including David McCullough, Ron Chernow and Richard Bookhiser, but would have to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.

It that happens, the change would take effect in 2017.

“Unfortunately, few Americans living today remember the legacy of President Washington and his contribution to this country,” Wolf said in a statement. “I believe Congress has unwittingly contributed to this lack of historical understanding by relegating Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February to take advantage of a three-day weekend. It is time to change the focus of the holiday from celebrating sales at the mall to celebrating the significance of President Washington’s birth and the birth of our nation.”

Wolf is retiring at the end of this term after serving 17 terms in Congress.

  • Saltporkdoc

    Definately agree. Also restore Abraham Lincoln’s to the actual date. (Remember, that’s the reason it is plural Presidents Day, NOT possessive President’s Day.) The reason they were combined was because they come so close together and in the shortest month, so they were disruptive of the government’s running efficiently (not that it ever did run efficiently!)

    • Nobama

      I agree with you saltporkdoc (especially about Lincoln). However, if I remember correctly, the 2 were combined in order to give MLK a federal holiday in January. They didn’t want to just add another one (to save money obviously). Pretty pathetic really.

      • Saltporkdoc

        You are right about the MLK thing. The reasoning was that with Abe and George just two weeks apart, adding MLK so soon would just be too many in too short a time frame!

  • Payton Manning

    Liberty empowers us to choose which goals to work toward, which efforts to undertake, and how to adjust our ways when confronted with dynamic circumstances we could not foresee.

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