Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, will introduce a bill Thursday that, if passed, would make English the official language of the United States.
“The English language has been the foundation of American culture for more than 250 years,” Vance said. “It’s long overdue for Congress to codify its place in law, and that’s what this bill does.”
Although English is the most widely spoken language in the United States, the country is one of the few that does not have a national language.
Vance’s English Language Unity Act, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-D., would fill that hole and require most official government business to be conducted in English. It would establish a universal standard language test for people on the path to citizenship.
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Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, attends a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Airline Operations and Consumer Protection in the Russell Building on Thursday, February 9, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“This common sense legislation recognizes an inherent truth: English is the language of this country. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the American people support this proposal,” Vance said.
The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., late last week.
The number of people who speak more than one language other than English at home has nearly tripled since 1980, according to US Census data. Most of those who speak another language report speaking Spanish, with French – including French Creole and Haitian French – coming in a distant second.
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Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., speaks during a Freedom Caucus press conference on the debt limit at the Capitol, Friday, March 10, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
A Rasmussen poll last year found that 78 percent of American adults believe English should be the country’s official language, according to a press release from Vance’s office.
Ohio’s freshman introduction of the English Language Unity Act is the latest version of a bill that Republicans have been trying to pass for decades.
The legislation was first introduced under that name in 2003 by former Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa. It had 108 cosponsors in the House, including six Democrats. In the end he did not receive a vote.
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FILE – In this Aug. 23, 2019, file photo, former Iowa Rep. Steve King speaks at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
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Critics of the effort have called it xenophobic and say it disparages non-English speakers. But Good, when he introduced the latest version of the bill last week, called the legislation “common sense.”
“In the melting pot of the United States of America, our common English language fosters unity and fosters cultural integration,” Goode said. “The English Language Unity Act is a common-sense measure that will strengthen America… It also benefits our legal immigrants, helping them integrate English language skills into our culture, helping them succeed in the workplace and reach their full potential. .”
Elizabeth Elkind is a political reporter for Fox News Digital.