Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) sponsored the measure to reverse what he called a "disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and omissions regarding the motto."
For example, Forbes noted that President Obama inaccurately proclaimed "E Pluribus Unum" (a Latin phrase meaning "from many, one") as the national motto in a speech to the Muslim world last November. Obama did not respond to congressional entreaties to issue a correction, and according to Forbes, the uncorrected transcript remains on the White House website.
Forbes also pointed to the "sanitization" of the new Capitol Visitor Center, where references to the national motto were eliminated. Only when Members of Congress intervened were the deliberate omissions corrected, Forbes said.
The resolution approved Tuesday not only reaffirms the national motto, it also supports and encourages its public display in all public buildings, public schools and government institutions.
"Today, as in other times of division and difficulty in our nation's history, the House of Representatives again reaffirmed 'In God We Trust' as our official motto and in so doing, provided clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation's spiritual heritage and offered inspiration to an American people that face challenges of historic proportion," Forbes said after the vote.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who was among nine lawmakers voting against the resolution, called it a meaningless distraction from the nation's real problems. "Nobody is threatening the national motto," he said.
Other Democrats voting against the resolution included Reps. Gary Ackerman (N.Y.), Michael Honda (Calif.), Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Judy Chu (Calif.), Fortney Stark (Calif.), Robert Scott (Va.), and Henry Johnson (Ga.).
Republican Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) also voted nay: "Displaying "In God We Trust" on public property is appropriate in some circumstances," Amash said on his Facebook page. But, he added, "There is no need to push for the phrase to be on all federal, state, and local buildings."
"In God We Trust" first appeared on U.S. coins during the Civil War in 1864. It officially became the national motto in 1956 and began appearing on paper currency the following year.