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United States Congress

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Elmo testifies in front of Congress in 2002.

Capitol Hill Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii April 12, 1989

Big Bird visits the Capitol in 1989.


Cookie Monster with Representatives Dan Kildee, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Nancy Pelosi at a service project for the USO.

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States of America consisting of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.


  • On April 12, 1989, Big Bird visited the US Capitol and met with several Congressmen on the Senate's Commerce Science and Transportation Communications subcommittee. At the time, the subcommittee was holding hearings on competitiveness in educational children's television.
  • In 2000, Kermit the Frog appeared at a press event to support The Shambala Wild Animal Protection Act, a proposed amendment to the United States Animal Welfare Act introduced to the US Congress by Representative Tom Lantos of California's 12th congressional district.
  • In 2002, Elmo testified before the U.S. Congress. In 2002 he was invited by Duke Cunningham of California to testify before the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more funding for music research and music education in schools.
  • Several United States Senators and other politicians recorded public service announcement with Elmo and Rosita in 2005 and 2006 to promote Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life initiative. These PSAs were distributed to state and national television outlets. Topics of the public service messages ranged from the importance of health and nutrition to physical fitness and personal hygiene.
  • In 2008, Kermit appeared at a press event on Capitol Hill to promote awareness of endangered amphibians across the globe in collaboration with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
  • In May 2014, characters from the USO Experience for Military Families stage show (including Cookie Monster, Elmo, Grover and Katie) appeared with members of Congress on Capitol Hill as they participated in assembling care packages for wounded, sick and injured military troops.
  • In May 2016, Elmo and Rosita from the USO Experience for Military Families stage show appeared on Capitol Hill to help assemble care packages for troops during a USO 75th anniversary event in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Muppet Mentions


Rep. Eliot Engel delivers a simple message to his colleagues: "Do not kill Big Bird!" (1995)


Rep. KeithEllison urges the House to approve funding for Shar'a Simsim. (2012)

  • In 1995, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich made headlines with his proposed budget cuts on Public Broadcasting. Gingrich argued that Sesame Street and other PBS shows were profit-generating brands and even when so far as to assert that Big Bird was a billionaire who got there on the backs of the taxpayers. In a 1995 interview, Gingrich stated: "you, as a taxpayer, shouldn't be forced to pay taxes to keep 'billionaire Big Bird' on television." New York Representative Eliot Engel took to the House floor with a stuffed Big Bird doll to deliver a simple and emotional message to his colleagues: "Do not kill Big Bird."(C-SPAN video) Big Bird found himself being used by politicians as a symbol for Public Broadcasting budget cuts again during the 2012 presidential election when Mitt Romney made similar comments about wanting to fire Big Bird.
  • In 2011, New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey argued against another round of proposed cuts to federal funding for public broadcasting by also invoking the characters of Sesame Street. House members stood behind dolls of Big Bird, Grover and Elmo while House aides held up signs showing Bert and Ernie being handed a letter that reads, "GOPink Slip: You are fired." Lower argued on the floor that "we're here to create jobs, not to lay off Bert and Ernie." She concluded her arguments stating that "Republicans should be less preoccupied with silencing Cookie Monster, and more focused on getting our economy back on track." (YouTube)
  • In 2012, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison brought an Elmo toy to the House floor, when urging the US government to refund Shara'a Simsim.


See also

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  • Congressmen and the Muppets

    8 messages
    • I found some videos in the C-SPAN archives of Muppet mentions in Congress (mainly relating to PBS funding) and added them to the article. * 19...
    • These are terrific! I'm backing them up for posterity.

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