Does Rep. Roscoe Bartlett really believe mustachioed men like himself should get a tax break? Apparently not, but that didn’t stop a brief tempest Tuesday over whether the Maryland Republican backs the idea.
The puzzlement began when the American Mustache Institute announced that Bartlett’s office “has begun the process of ensuring the ‘Stache Act becomes law by passing the proposal to the House Ways and Means Committee for study — an essential first step for tax legislation.”
The ‘Stache Act — Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses — is a proposal from AMI to give “a $250 annual tax deduction for every Mustached American for expenditures on mustache grooming supplies.” Sounds like a worthy cause, and one that would put some cash in Bartlett’s own pocket. But did he really “pass the proposal” to the tax-writing Ways and Means panel?
The Weekly Standard asked Bartlett’s office Tuesday, and spokeswoman Lisa Wright said she personally had referred the matter to Ways and Means without Bartlett’s knowledge.
Bartlett’s office sought to clarify the matter further Tuesday night, issuing a statement from his chief of staff Deborah Burrell, saying: “There was no bill, only a white paper that was sent by Lisa Wright, Press Secretary, as a media inquiry to the committee staff without Congressman Bartlett’s knowledge nor permission. There was no response from [the] committee. For the record: Roscoe is pro-stache, but he does not believe Americans should pay for people’s personal grooming decisions.”
So just to sum up — there is no actual legislation, Bartlett doesn’t support the concept, and his office forwarded the idea without endorsing it.
Bartlett’s fondness for mustaches is well-known. In November, Bartlett did an interview with WTOP reporter Paul Shinkman about mustaches, in which the Maryland lawmaker explained that he’d first grown whiskers in the 1950s as “a symbol of rebellion.”
If Bartlett ever changes his mind and decides to support the ‘Stache Act, he can demonstrate it by showing up April 1 at the AMI’s “Million Mustache March.”