The Republican Party today makes a real effort to associate itself with organized religion, frequently portraying itself as the defender of tradition and faith. So it's a little bit surprising to see that a symbolic bill intended to honor Pope Francis is having trouble making its way through the House of Representatives — and it's the GOP that is to blame.
Yet while Republicans' wariness of the extremely popular pope may be odd, its most likely explanation is a good example of what is currently the leading motivation of most GOP policy stances today: all-out opposition to President Obama.
Indeed, it's hard to interpret Republicans' unwillingness to endorse the pope any other way. Only 19 of the bill's 221 co-sponsors come from the GOP, a reality that one anonymous source told the Hill is due to Republicans' worries that Pope Francis' skepticism of unregulated capitalism makes him "too liberal" and too much like the president.
Chief among his sins, apparently, is his previous use of the phrase "trickle-down economics," which was previously used by people on both the left and the right to describe supply-side policies but is now, according to one anonymous Republican, "politically charged." Republicans are also reportedly uncomfortable with Francis' strong support of human equality.
[Rep. John] Larson on Friday sent a letter to Boehner requesting a vote.
In the letter, obtained by The Hill, Larson highlighted Boehner’s open invitation to Francis to address a joint meeting of Congress.
“To my knowledge this would be an historic first. I ask that you take a look at a bipartisan resolution introduced by Representative Peter King and myself, acknowledging the first Pope from the Americas ... it is my sincere hope that you will consider this resolution for the suspension calendar for a vote,” Larson wrote.