Liberals sure love
The resolution was proposed by Reps.
"Republicans Sink to a New Low by Stalling a Well-Deserved Resolution Honoring Pope Francis" was the headline of a column on the Huffington Post by H.A. Goodman. Goodman urged Republicans to "put their childish partisanship aside" and "honor a man who has done a great deal for the image of not only the church, but of Christianity in the world today."
Hmm. If it's partisanship that explains the Republicans' lack of enthusiasm for the resolution, that suggests the pope has espoused views that are inconsistent with their political philosophy. If that's the case, why should they heap praise on him? To curry favor with Roman Catholic voters?
Actually, the best argument against the resolution has nothing to do with whether Francis is or is not an inspiring figure. (I think he is.) It is that Congress should concentrate on passing bills that actually accomplish something, as opposed to throwing bouquets.
Nonbinding congressional resolutions have a long history, and though they aren't explicitly authorized in the Constitution, an expert on the separation of powers told me that they can be teased out of the speech and debate clause of Article I, Section 6.
But these resolutions are a waste of time — and there are a lot of them. Sen.
Nonbinding resolutions are the congressional equivalent of a “Like” on Facebook, although some are also designed to influence policy. That was the case with a resolution expressing support for Israel passed by the
But even resolutions about serious issues stretch the notion of Congress as a legislative body. We elect members of Congress to pass laws, not to endorse good causes or bestow the thanks of a grateful nation on worthy citizens, scientists, sports figures and spiritual leaders. (If that's anyone's job, it's the president's. Don't worry — Barack Obama is on the case.)
I suspect the last thing Francis is concerned about is whether he receives the blessing of the U.S. Congress. Maybe, in the spirit of the man who has downsized the papacy, members of Congress should exhibit some humility and concentrate on making productive use of the "legislative powers" vested in them by the Constitution.