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108th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 108-689
DESIGNATION OF NATIONAL TREE
September 17, 2004.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be
Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1775]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 1775) to amend title 36, United States Code, to designate
the oak tree as the national tree of the United States, having
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.
Purpose and Summary.............................................. 1
Background and Need for the Legislation.......................... 2
Committee Consideration.......................................... 2
Vote of the Committee............................................ 2
Committee Oversight Findings..................................... 2
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................ 3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................ 3
Performance Goals and Objectives................................. 3
Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 3
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion....................... 4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............ 4
Markup Transcript................................................ 5
Purpose and Summary
The purpose of H.R. 1775 is to designate the tree genus
Quercus, commonly known as the oak tree, as the national tree.
Background and Need for the Legislation
The oak tree was chosen by the American people as the
national tree in a 4-month-long open voting process sponsored
by the National Arbor Day Foundation in 2001. It received over
100,000 votes out of some 400,000 total votes cast. On Friday,
April 27, 2001, the selection of the oak as the national tree
was commemorated with a ceremonial planting of an oak on the
United States Capitol grounds.
The oak was the natural choice for the national tree. Its
many species are common to all 50 States, and six States have
already named the oak as their State tree.\1\ The oak tree has
also played an important role in the history of the United
States. For example, the Charter Oak, which is featured on the
back of the Connecticut quarter, served as a hiding place for
that State's charter when the British sought to have the
charter surrendered in 1687. Furthermore, the oak tree's
strength and durability as a building material is well known;
the U.S.S. Constitution, commonly known as ``Old Ironsides,''
has a hull constructed of live oak.
\1\ Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, and New Jersey
are the States that have designated the oak as their State tree.
If H.R. 1775 is enacted, the oak tree would join the
``Star-Spangled Banner,'' ``In God We Trust,'' the rose, and
``The Stars and Stripes Forever'' in Title 36, United States
Code, as a symbol of the United States.
No hearings were held in the Committee on the Judiciary on
On May 13, 2004, the Subcommittee on the Constitution met
in open session and ordered favorably reported the bill H.R.
1775, by a voice vote, a quorum being present. On September 9,
2004, the Committee met in open session and ordered favorably
reported the bill H.R. 1775, without an amendment, by voice
vote, a quorum being present.
Vote of the Committee
In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, the Committee notes that there
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of
Committee Oversight Findings
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the
descriptive portions of this report.
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures
Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with
respect to the bill, H.R. 1775, the following estimate and
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, September 14, 2004.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1775, a bill to
amend title 36, United States Code, to designate the oak tree
as the national tree of the United States.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860.
Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
H.R. 1775--A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to designate
the oak tree as the national tree of the United States.
H.R. 1775 would amend federal law to make the tree genus
Quercus (commonly known as the oak tree) the national tree of
the United States. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1775
would have no significant cost and would not affect direct
spending or revenues.
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of State, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860. This estimate was
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for
Performance Goals and Objectives
The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
goal of H.R. 1775 is to designate the tree genus Quercus,
commonly known as the oak, as the national tree of the United
Constitutional Authority Statement
Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for
this legislation in article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution.
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion
Sec. 1. Designation of National Tree. This section
designates the tree genus Quercus, commonly known as the oak
tree, as the national tree, and makes conforming amendments to
Chapter 3, Title 36.
Sec. 1 does not specify any particular species of oak, but
rather designates the genus Quercus (oak) as the official
national tree. By so defining the national tree, this
designation will include oak varieties that span the continent,
such as the Live Oak, the Northern Red Oak, the Arizona White
Oak, and many more.
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported
In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change
is proposed is shown in roman):
TITLE 36, UNITED STATES CODE
* * * * * * *
SUBTITLE I--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES
PART A--OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES
PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES.............................101
NATIONAL ANTHEM, MOTTO, FLORAL EMBLEM[, AND MARCH] MARCH, AND T301
* * * * * * *
CHAPTER 3--NATIONAL ANTHEM, MOTTO, FLORAL EMBLEM[, AND MARCH] MARCH,
301. National anthem.
* * * * * * *
305. National tree.
* * * * * * *
Sec. 305. National tree
The tree genus Quercus, commonly known as the oak tree, is
the national tree.
* * * * * * *
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2004
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James
Sensenbrenner, Jr., [Chairman of the Committee] Presiding.
Chairman Sensenbrenner. The next item on the agenda is the
adoption of H.R. 1775, ``to amend Title 36, United State Code,
to designate the oak tree as the national tree of the United
States.'' The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio, Mr.
Chabot, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution
for a motion.
Mr. Chabot. I move that the bill be reported.
[The bill, H.R. 1775, follows:]
Chairman Sensenbrenner. Okay. The gentleman from Ohio on
behalf of the Subcommittee moves that the bill be reported
favorably with a favorable recommendation to the full House.
Without objection, the bill will be considered as read and open
for amendment at any point. The Chair recognizes the author of
the legislation, the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Goodlatte, to
strike the last word.
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding a markup
of this legislation designating the oak as America's national
tree. During a 4-month long on-line election with almost half a
million votes logged, the American people chose the oak tree as
America's national tree. To make official what the American
people have already chosen, I introduced H.R. 1775 last April
which will officially designate the oak as America's national
As a Member of Congress representing a heavily forested
district in Virginia, I know firsthand how trees add to our
quality of life. As Chairman of the House Agriculture
Committee, I appreciate how trees and forests enhance the
environment, add recreational opportunities, and provide for
the livelihoods of millions of individuals in the forest
Whether enjoying a product generated from a forest or the
simple satisfaction of lying under a shaded giant, trees
contribute to all Americans.
The strong and stately oak tree is of particular importance
in America's history and culture. Not only is this majestic
tree an aesthetic beauty that characterizes the landscape of
much of our great Nation, it also provides us with wood
products in our homes, our offices and our places of gathering.
Present in all 50 States, the oak has played a huge role in
America's history as a valuable resource.
It helped our Founding Fathers establish a new Nation,
supplying building materials for the ever-expanding 13 original
colonies. It served as a familiar site to pioneers as they
forged across the new republic to the West Coast and to this
day has remained an enduring valuable and highly priced raw
material from which beautifully crafted furniture, sturdy door
and window framing or ornate flooring and paneling and the like
This enduring and mighty tree, which has long been part of
our national heritage and strength, fully merits the
distinction of America's national tree. The oak tree has played
a key role in many specific historic monuments in our Nation's
Abraham Lincoln found his way across a river near Homer,
Illinois, using the Salt River Fort Oak as a marker. When King
James II attempted to revoke Connecticut's charter, the Charter
White Oak is said to have been the hiding place for the
historic document. Andrew Jackson took shelter under
Louisiana's Sunnybrook Oak on his way to the Battle of New
Orleans, and Old Ironsides is not made of iron. The USS
Constitution earned its nickname from the strength of its live
oak hull, famous for easily repelling British cannonballs.
Chosen by the people in a broad-based election, the oak
tree represents the fundamental characteristics of this great
Nation: strength, endurance and beauty.
I urge the Members of this Committee to make official what
we have known for many years, that the oak tree is America's
[A letter of support from The National Arbor Day Foundation
Chairman Sensenbrenner. [Presiding.] Does anybody wish to
make an opening statement on the Democratic side?
If not, all Members----
Mr. Keller. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Sensenbrenner. --have 5 days in which to insert
opening statements in the record at this point.
Are there any amendments?
The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Keller.
Mr. Keller. I move to strike the last word.
Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5
Mr. Keller. Obviously, this is a very controversial piece
of legislation. I received a lot of heat from the American Palm
Tree Association about this. There was an oak tree that
recently fell on my mom's home in Hurricane Charley that
resulted in it totally being razed. I just want to know if the
author would consider a minor substitution to change the word
``oak'' to ``palm'' in this amendment.
Mr. Goodlatte. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. Keller. I will yield.
Mr. Goodlatte. Palm wasn't even close in the running.
Mr. Keller. All right. I will vote for it then.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman Sensenbrenner. Are there any amendments? You are
Well, if there are no amendments, then the Chair notes the
presence of a reporting quorum and the question occurs on the
motion to report the bill H.R. 1775 favorably. All those in
favor will say aye. Aye. Opposed, no.
The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it.
The motion to report favorably is agreed to. Without
objection, the Chairman is authorized to move to go to
conference pursuant to House Rules. Without objection, the
staff is directed to make any technical and conforming changes;
and all Members will be given 2 days as provided by House rules
in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental or