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WASHINGTON — Wading into the "war on Christmas" furies, the committee that runs operations of the House of Representatives issued a policy allowing lawmakers to include holiday greetings in official mail to constituents.

In an announcement Wednesday, House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller, R-Mich., wrote:

"I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Members of the House may include holiday greetings in their communications to constituents. In the past, including any form of a holiday greeting was banned. While still prohibiting the misuse of official funds, this new commonsense policy allows Members to share their holiday wishes with constituents in otherwise official communications. I feel it is entirely appropriate for members of Congress to include a simple holiday salutation, whether it is Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and so on. "

Members of Congress are given free postage – called "franking" – to send official mail to their constituents, but the contents of that mail are regulated by a congressional "Franking Commission," which Miller also chairs. The general rule is that mailings sent out under the frank are supposed to be official business only, not political material – newsletters describing the lawmakers' legislation or announcing public events in the district, that sort of thing.

The House apparently concluded that being official does not have to mean being unfestive.

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