“Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, the Republican leader, said he thought that `we need to fish or cut bait (on a stimulus package) this coming week’ because there are indications the economy could be recovering.” – AP, Dec. 10, 2001

Partisan Bickering Temporarily Halted to Fend Off Common Threat

Washington, D.C. ( – Concerned over reports the economy could rebound on its own, both houses of Congress on Monday passed legislation that prohibits the economy from recovering until Congress can pass legislation allowing it to recover.

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“We have been fighting for two months to pass an emergency economic stimulus package, and now, when we’re perhaps only two-to-four years away from agreement, we cannot allow some rogue economy to unilaterally decide to recover without our involvement,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who co-sponsored the bill.

“Just imagine the anarchy,” Reid continued. “Without oversight, what would this recovery look like? Who would receive the most benefits? Would this be a Republican recovery, or a Democratic recovery? It’s chilling to consider that these questions would not have answers.”

Added South Carolina Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond: “The American people elected me to do a job, and I’d appreciate it if someone could tell me what it was.”

As for the penalties that await the economy should it attempt to act without legislative approval, Congressional leaders did not hesitate to wave the big stick: anti-trust hearings. “Up until now, we’ve allowed the U.S. economy to function as a monopoly, but we could easily change that, maybe open things up to some competing economies,” said Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. “Perhaps we could invite the Japanese economy in here. Or the Romanian economy. That wouldn’t be too pleasant.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, responding to accusations leveled Sunday by temporarily visible Vice President Dick Cheney, denied he was purposefully obstructing the stimulus package to make Republicans appear weak on the economy. Instead, Daschle insisted, the stimulus package is being held up by the Centers for Disease Control.

“My staff is under strict instructions that any package or parcel that arrives must be cleared by health officials before it is opened,” Daschle said. “Until that stimulus package is adequately tested, we simply will not open it.”

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, however, said he found it “suspicious” that Daschle had so far requested the CDC conduct 136,442 separate tests on the package.

Asked for his response, Vice President Cheney said he would not be corporeal again until Thursday.

Added Sen. Thurmond: “The American people elected me to do a job, and I think this is Wednesday.”

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