Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Gets Tangled In Controversy Over Tax Breaks For Mustaches

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Something unexpected is causing a stir with lawmakers in Washington.

As Weijia Jiang explains, it has to do with mustaches and a Maryland congressman is right in the middle of it.

Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has sported a bushy mustache since 1950. But it got him into a hairy situation.

The American Mustache Institute (AMI) is lobbying for a tax break. It would give those who keep hair on their lip $250 a year to cover grooming expenses.

“How can you respond to that?” Susan Lawson from Baltimore said.Me too

AMI’s so-called chairman tells WJZ the congressman initially supported the Stache Act, but backed out.

“I think what you’ve got is people trying to cover their backsides,” Aaron Perlut said.

After Bartlett’s primary opponents blasted him for it.

“I think we have other issues more important than facial hair,” Del. Kathy Afzali (R-Frederick County) said.

Bartlett’s press secretary says: The Congressman is definitely “Pro-Stache,” but he never, ever, ever supported The Stache Act.

Lisa Wright says she sent a proposal to the House Ways and Means Committee because she thought it was funny– so do others.

“The government does not do enough for people with mustaches,” Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) said.

AMI says it promotes mustaches for two reasons– to help the environment. They say hair stays out of landfills. They also say they make everyone better-looking.

Jiang: “How do the ladies like your stache?”
Taras Lukianczuk: “Oh, they love it! That’s why I keep it!”

Of course, the stache is not new. The handsome, the distinguished, the local, the fictional have all worn one. Even the real deal guys.

“I was actually born with this,” WJZ‘s Bob Turk said.

But some say they’d never do it– not even for cash.

“No, a mustache isn’t paying my bills,” said one person.

The institute’s chairman is also the head of a public relations firm. It partnered up with a tax firm for a Mustache March from the Capitol to the White House. Marchers will all have a stache.


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