Famous People Who’ve Testified Before Congress
A lot of news coverage was given today when comedian Stephen Colbert testified before Congress on the topic of immigration. While reading through various local news blogs, people seemed outraged that Congress would even listen to a comedian. While he did the entire testimony as a joke (I listened to his speech), his words hit home in a plea for Congress to work together (on anything) instead of siding with its own political agenda. A celebrity speaking before Congress isn’t really new, however. Here are five unlikely celebrities who have addressed our government.
What the hell is an 18 year old, chastity-driven singer doing in Congress you ask? It turns out that Jonas, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13 wanted Congress to know the importance of increasing research and spending on finding a cure for the disease. It came at a time during the debate over Health Care Reform and helped to justify the recently enacted allowance for children with pre-existing conditions to be given health insurance.
In 1985, Congress had a huge controversy over the censorship of music led by Al Gore’s wife, Tipper. She was part of an organization called the PMRC (Parents’ Music Resource Centre) which was trying to label music as being offensive and/or taking it off the shelves completely. Frank Zappa wasn’t the only one to appear, either. He was joined by the likes of Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), John Denver, and Donnie Osmond! It ended up going by the wayside, but for awhile, there were actually warning labels on our music!
Possibly one of the most recent celebs that spoke up before Congress is Kevin Costner. He didn’t address Capitol Hill as a celebrity, however, but rather as an investor and entrepreneur. During this past summer’s oil disaster in the Gulf, Costner tried to get (and succeeded) in using his device to clean up the oil. We commented on this earlier this summer.
Kids from all over the country know of Mr. Rogers. His real name was Reverend Fred Rogers from Pittsburgh and he spoke before the Senate on the importance of PBS funding. He spoke from his own experience of how PBS programming is family-oriented, without being religiously-motivated, and how it helps parents and children grow and continue the family unit. Mr. Rogers ran new shows with a variety of different names (but the same theme) from 1958-2001.
In 2008, actor Dennis Quaid spoke before a House Committee after a hospital injected his infant twins with a massive and incorrect dose of the drug, Heparin. He sued the hospital and the drug company and then testified on Capitol Hill seeking to extend the ability to sue drug manufacturers for negligence. As we all know, that doesn’t sit well with the people who are getting paid off by those said drug manufacturers. What happened? The hospital got a slap on the wrist! No matter how well-known you are, you can’t come between a politician and the money that they get from big pharmaceuticals.