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Elvis could have his day - Jan. 8 - if Congress agrees

Richard Simon

WASHINGTON -- With lawmakers singing the blues about the looming "fiscal cliff," why not a resolution to show their support for designating Jan. 8 as Elvis Presley Day?

Ten members of Congress have signed onto the resolution to show they have a big hunk o' love for the king of rock 'n' roll.

Presley, born Jan. 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Miss., died at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977, at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. He "remains one of the most famous American entertainers of all time whose influence on music and whose cultural impact continues today," according to the resolution.

Demand for Elvis items certainly has not faded.

One of the most requested items from the National Archives is a photograph of Presley shaking hands with President Richard Nixon during a White House visit. And the Elvis stamp has been the most popular postage stamp.

The resolution, which "encourages the people of the United States, federal, state and local governments, and interested groups to observe Elvis Presley Day," was introduced by Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., who was defeated for re-election this month.

Presley's "impact on rock music, our culture and our nation is long overdue to be recognized," Kissell said in a letter to colleagues. "The story of Elvis is, in part, the story of the American Dream: answering the call of our nation and joining our military. Lifting himself up from poverty to become a successful entertainer, followed by billions across the globe. Giving back to the nation through charity benefits and free concerts."

With time running out on the congressional session, it's uncertain whether the measure will come before the House before Congress leaves.

House Republican leaders have scaled back votes on commemorative resolutions, contending such things wasted floor time needed for more pressing matters.

Supporters of the resolutions say they bring deserved recognition to individuals and groups and attention to important causes while providing moments of bipartisan good cheer in an otherwise divisive Capitol.


By Richard Simon
Los Angeles Times