FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – Ten years before the nation’s 250th anniversary in July 2026, a bipartisan team in both chambers of Congress passed HR4875, the United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of 2016, led by U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Pat Toomey, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Ron Wyden, and by U.S. Representatives Patrick Meehan, Robert Brady, Brendan Boyle, and Ryan Costello.
The newly established commission will facilitate national plans leading into the Semiquincentennial. The 32-member body of public and private citizens will solicit ideas for the 250th anniversary and develop a report with recommendations to the President and to Congress within two years of its formation.
“The nation’s Semiquincentennial is an opportunity for all Americans to engage in a shared project of national unity, celebrating what brings us together while striving toward the best version of ourselves that we can be, as individual citizens, families, and communities,” says USA250 Board Chair and civic leader Andrew Hohns. “We thank the legislators from both parties who championed this legislation to enable the national planning to begin.”
U.S. Sen. Casey reflects, “The United States’ 250th anniversary is a momentous mark in our nation’s history and future. The commission’s purpose is to dedicate time to mapping out the look and feel of this celebration. I am excited to see what they come up with.”
Inspired by his favorite Founding Father, U.S. Rep. Meehan adds, “We are following Benjamin Franklin’s legendary advice that ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ This new commission is the same process that was used in planning for the Bicentennial celebrations across all 50 states in 1976. There is much to do and we’re glad to get started.”
By law, the commission will convene its meetings at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Its recommendations will give special emphasis to locations of historical significance to the United States, individuals who have made a significant impact on the nation’s development, and the ideas that have advanced the “quest for freedom of all mankind.”
“Americans today owe a debt to our founders who imagined a nation conceived in liberty and who risked everything, including their lives, to make it so,” remarks U.S. Sen. Toomey. “Pennsylvania played a pivotal role in the birth of our country and in the composition of the documents that outline our values and the role of our government. I am proud to join Senator Casey, and my colleagues in the Senate and House, to begin to plan for our country’s 250th birthday.”
“This legislation completes the process we began in 2009, when I introduced the original measure, HR986, to establish this important commission,” says U.S. Rep. Brady. “I am in awe of the work that USA250 has done to reach this point and greatly appreciate the bipartisan support my colleagues have given them.”
In addition to coordinating with state and local planners, the commission may encourage federal agencies to integrate the Semiquincentennial into their everyday activities. Five members of the President’s cabinet will serve on the commission, as well as the heads of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
U.S. Sen. Whitehouse shares, “Congratulations to USA250 and all those working to commemorate our nation’s 250th anniversary. I encourage the new Semiquincentennial Commission to work with leaders throughout the country on events that celebrate our shared values and the influence our great nation has had throughout the world.”
“This is our chance as a nation to inspire a new generation of citizens leading into the nation’s next 250 years,” U.S. Rep. Boyle notes. “The ‘Semiquin’ will be much more than a birthday party; it will be a moment to take pause and focus on the history of the democracy in which we live, and take those lessons into the future we will shape together.”
For more information and to access the full legislation text, visit www.usa250.org/commission.
USA250 is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization making big plans for America’s 250th anniversary in 2026. The Pennsylvania-based group was founded by private citizens to promote a celebration of the Semiquincentennial and to facilitate a conversation on the nation’s future, driven by the values and philosophy articulated in the Declaration of Independence.
Jon Grabelle Herrmann, USA250, 267-307-2446, firstname.lastname@example.org