Huffpost Politics

Congressman Gets Mad After Finding Out Americans Are Less Charitable Than He Thought

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WASHINGTON -- Some politicians have a hard time resisting the urge to declare the U.S. is No. 1, no matter what pinnacle they're asserting the country has reached.

Unfortunately, such attestations of greatness are not always true, and if one of the listeners happens to be another congressman with access to the Internet and a good ear for an opportunity to troll a colleague, it's easy to get called out for it.

For instance, at a recent hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) ardently declared that Americans were the most charitable people on the face of the planet. At the time, he was arguing that Congress needed to pass a $3 billion tax break to encourage Americans to be more charitable.

That turned out to be a bit much for Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who has certainly expressed his own share of patriotic enthusiasm over the years, but didn't think the $3 billion should simply be tacked onto the federal debt, as Kelly proposed. So he took about 14 seconds to Google the nation's charitable global standing. It's not bad, but it's not exactly No. 1, either. More like No. 13.

Informed of this fact, Kelly was not pleased. Watch the video, above.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. -- Kelly's spokesman, Thomas Qualtere, emailed to say that the congressman was referring to the United States' overall score for giving, which includes measures of time spent volunteering and helping strangers.

"Rep. Kelly was accurately referring to the 2013 World Giving Index, published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which clearly ranks the United States as No. 1 among the world's most generous nations," Qualtere said. "The full report by CAF states plainly that the U.S. 'once again tops the index' and affirms that 'proportionally more Americans gave in some way than in any other country.' A quick and honest Google search by Mr. Blumenauer or anyone else could've revealed this."

Indeed, the report ranks Americans at the top overall, thanks to a No. 1 score in helping strangers, No. 3 in volunteering and No. 13 in donating money, which was the topic of discussion at the Ways and Means hearing.

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