In the middle of an increasingly bitter and divisive presidential race, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill today not to address one of the pressing concerns facing the American people, but rather to formally recognize magic as a national treasure – as a rare and valuable art form. The bill, authored by Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), has six Republican co-sponsors, was introduced on Monday, and contains a number of interesting – if spurious – anecdotes related to how the practice of magic makes one a better politician and a better citizen.
“[Mayor Eric Hogue] learned the art of magic as a child, and continues to use those skills to teach elementary school students about the different roles and responsibilities of local government,” the resolution reads, speaking of Wylie, Texas, Mayor Eric Hogue.
Mayor Hogue is a fan of magic, having proclaimed a National Magic Week back in 2014. Wylie, Texas, or at least part of it is in Representative Pete Sessions’ district and Mayor Hogue has said he reached out to the congressman about the bill, urging him to recognize magic on the national level.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) March 15, 2016
The bill is more than a little odd, and certainly not the kind of legislation the House has been trying to pass in recent months — which as of late is more concerned with budgetary issues and reducing the deficit, but some of the co-sponsors of the bill that would recognize magic as a national treasure spoke to the Huffington Post about the reasons they support the bill.
Representative Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania) said that his father in law was a sleight-of-hand magician, and that it was important to him to recognize the art of magic on a national level.
“He would keep our family gatherings entertained and amazed with his skill and his tricks, his most impressive trick however was capturing the imagination of my son, William. Any art form that can capture a kid’s imagination in this short attention span era is one I think deserving of some recognition,” said Rep. Charlie Dent in an email to Huffington Post.
Democratic opponents of the bill poked fun at the Congressmen who supported and authored the ‘magic is a national treasure’ bill, suggesting that Congress has better things to do than pass a bill that will ultimately do very little other than celebrate magic as a national pastime.
“Maybe I don’t get it because I’m a muggle?” joked Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The bill does have some, however sparse, meat to it but it serves as more of a guideline than an actual law. The bill calls not only for recognition of magic but also for its preservation – that the U.S. government should take action to “preserve and promulgate” the “art of magic” on a national level.
Precisely what that means remains unclear.
— Ryan J. Rusak (@rjrusak) March 15, 2016
“Magic is an art form with the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people. Magicians are visual storytellers who seamlessly interweave elements of mystery, wonder, emotion, and expression,” reads the House Resolution.
The bill was introduced by Representative Pete Sessions and was co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers, Rep. Pat Meehan, Rep. Dan Donovan, Rep. Charlie Dent, Rep. Ken Buck, and Rep. Mike Simpson. The six co-authors of the “magic is a national treasure” bill referred it to the House Committee on Oversight And Government Reform for review, reports ABC News.
The most recent issue that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has had on its plate has been the Flint water crisis, in which hundreds of thousands of residents of Flint, Michigan, were poisoned by lead in their water supply.
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