WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly but not without some complaints Wednesday to honor the 2,650th anniversary of the birth of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Lawmakers voted 361-47 -- with 13 voting "present" and 11 absent altogether -- to celebrate the Chinese philosopher and "his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought."
Some of US President Barack Obama's Republican critics had grumbled about voting on the symbolic resolution at a time when the United States is locked in two wars and faces a bitter debate over legislation to remake US health care.
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"He who spends time passing trivial legislation may find himself out of time to read health care bill," quipped Republican Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Democrats pointed out that Republicans have pushed for a symbolic resolution to honor a recent demonstration outside the Capitol that drew tens of thousands to protest Obama's agenda.
The ancient teachings of Confucius (551-479 BC), centering on peace and social harmony, have enjoyed a renaissance in China in recent years, after being suppressed in Maoist China.
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