The March 1 automatic budget cuts (i.e. “sequester”) were designed specifically to scare Congress into coming to an agreement on a budget deal. The cuts were never actually supposed to be implemented.
But that’s exactly what happened: Congress failed to act, the cuts were passed by both chambers, and President Obama signed sequester into law.
Of course, because sequester was designed to be unpopular, no one in Washington will take responsibly for it and everyone is pointing their finger at the other guy.
Can this city get any sillier?
Why, yes. Yes it can. Meet Congressman Hank Johnson.
Rep. Johnson (D-Ga.) on Thursday took to the House floor to “defend Americans’ right to helium in light of sequester spending cuts,” the Washington Times reports.
“Imagine, Mr. Speaker, a world without balloons,” Rep. Johnson said, offering his support for the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act of 2013 (yes, this is a real bill and, yes, the feds are in the helium business and have been since 1925).
The bill seeks to prevent the closure of the Federal Helium Reserve, which is scheduled to shutter by October.
“Mr. Speaker, I’m relieved, and I’m sure that the American people are relieved as well, that Congress is finally going to do something about one of the most pressing issues of the day,” he continued sarcastically. “That is we’ve got to ensure access to helium for all.”
“How can we make sure that the injustice of there being no helium for comedians to get that high-pitched voice that we all hold near and dear to our hearts?” he added:
Okay, if you haven’t figured it out by now, the Georgia congressman is being sarcastic and ridiculous. The point of his speech, he says, wasn’t to bash the bill (which he says he supports) but to underscore the fact that Congress has an issue with prioritizing.
“Surely those harmed by sequestration and those harmed by the Republican failure to appoint budget conferees appreciate the House spending two full legislative days on this most critical issue,” he said. “The American people certainly understand the fact that 48 hours of this House’s precious time was necessary to pass such a non-controversial bill.
“The substance of this bill is not the focus of my sarcasm,” he added. “My point is that America would be much better off if this tea party Republican Congress brought to the floor issues that mean the most to Americans.”
Then again, this is the same congressman who thought Guam was in danger of “tipping over”:
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Featured image IMDB.