Amid tax hike, spending squabbles, Congress considers Elvis Presley Day

While official Washington is preoccupied with such serious matters as averting sharp tax increases for working Americans and severe government spending cuts scheduled to take place in January, Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) is focusing his efforts on passing an official declaration to observe Jan. 8 as “Elvis Presley Day.”

The resolution introduced this week is cosponsored by eight House Democrats and a lone Republican, and would recognize Presley’s birth in Tupelo, Miss. in 1935.

“Elvis Presley remains one of the most famous American entertainers of all time whose influence on music and whose cultural impact continues today,” the resolution said.

The legislation also notes that in addition to Presley’s vast catalogue of work — 750 songs and one billion records sold worldwide — the King of Rock and Roll also served honorably in the Army.

“Whereas Elvis Presley often shared his success with the less fortunate through benefit concerts and contributions to charity ??? (he also) exemplified the American dream by pulling himself up from poverty through hard work and personal talent,” the resolution said.

“Whereas in a time when the trade deficits of the United States continue to grow, the sustained export of American music and culture is a uniquely American product that can never be replaced by foreign competitors,” the resolution said.

Presley’s home, “Graceland,” was designated as a National Historic Landmark during former President George W. Bush’s administration and welcomes more than 600,000 visitors a year. In 1993, the Post Office issued a first class stamp featuring Presley’s likeness, and is one of the most popular stamps sold.

The cultural icon died at the age of 42 on Aug. 16, 1977.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for consideration, but with only a few weeks left in the congressional session, it does not stand a strong chance of passage.