A Republican congressman has introduced a bill that would withdraw federal funding from government agencies that try to ban books.
“Cancel culture is rapidly encroaching on American institutions—starting in our elementary schools,” Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) said in a press release on his proposed legislation dubbed the “Guarding Readers’ Independence and Choice Act,” or “GRINCH” Act.
Inspired by the fictional creature in the Dr. Seuss book series, the GRINCH Act would bar states and local government agencies from receiving funding under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program if they “prohibits the availability of books” that “contain offensive or outdated language or images” to students, teachers, or schools, with the exception of books containing obscene or pornographic texts or images.
“As we have seen time and time again, the ‘woke’ horde will target just about anyone, even Dr. Seuss,” Joyce said, adding that no American should be “forced to participate in this scheme against their will.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages the legacy of the celebrated children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, announced earlier this month that it has decided to cease publication and licensing of six Dr. Seuss titles because of imagery that was accused of being racist and insensitive.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement, saying that the move was “part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
First published in the 1930s and 40s, the books came under fire in recent years due to the depiction of different ethnic and racial groups, which some find offensive. In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian man is portrayed wearing a conical hat and eating rice from a bowl with chopsticks. “If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two African men wearing grass skirts and carrying exotic-looking animals.
Joyce on Friday appeared on Fox News to discuss his bill, saying that it should be left to parents to decide what’s on their children’s reading list.
“If you find that these books are offensive to your children, then the parents should be the ones who make that decision,” he told Fox News host Dana Perino. “Government should not be making that. And federal dollars should not support anyone who bans books.”
When asked if any Democrat is backing his proposal thus far, Joyce didn’t answer, but said that the feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive and that he thought the bill “should be able to reach across the aisle.”
“We have to understand that we cannot turn back and ban great historic people, great historic images, that are part of our childhood,” he said.