WASHINGTON (CAP) - Despite pleas to do it for the children and quoting lines from Miracle On 34th Street, Senate Democrats were unable to end debate on a $34 billion sleigh bailout bill and bring it to a full vote. The failed measure puts Christmas at risk with just days to go until the biggest holiday of the year.
"Sorry, big guy, looks like we failed you - humanity failed you," said Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV). "I dread looking at children's faces on Christmas morning. It's not going to be a pleasant sight."
The House easily passed the bailout bill late last week, which would have provided Santa Claus with the funding to perform some much-needed repairs on his sleigh in time for this year's trip around the world. But Senate Republicans balked at provisions that would have extended elf benefits into the offseason as well as given Santa himself a hefty bonus.
"Today we bail out Santa, tomorrow it's the Easter Bunny. Where does it stop?" bellowed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the Senate floor. "Is it the job of the American taxpayer to foot the repair bill of a sleigh used to deliver toys to children around the world? I think not!"
Critics charged that had the funding been as important to Santa as indicated, he should have shown up himself to testify at the hearings and not sent a dozen of his helpers from malls around the Washington, DC area. Proponents of Santa said this is the wrong time of year to ask him to leave the North Pole unnecessarily.
"We want Santa, not a bunch of guys who look like Santa," said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). "If jolly ole St. Nick can't leave his operation for a single day to come plead his case for American taxpayer money, then maybe we need to be taking a closer look at how jolly ole St. Nick runs his operation."
DeMint was one of a handful of Republicans who had been pushing for creation of a committee to look into the finances of Santa's Village, which managed to escape unscathed last year amid a sting operation that uncovered a dozen elves trying to pawn off recalled toys as their own handiwork. Pundits say that effort could gain momentum now that Santa has intentionally thrust his financial situation back into the spotlight.
"The North Pole Hiring Group and the Elves Local 105 have been at each other's throats for well over a year," said CAP News senior financial analyst Robert Moullha. "So I have no doubt the elves' union would lobby for some sort of governmental oversight of the Claus finances."
When the NPHG laid off almost 12% of the elf workforce earlier this year, Moullha said Santa narrowly avoided a strike by agreeing to certain concessions. Among those was a mandatory weight-loss program that would allow Santa to downsize the number of reindeer necessary to pull the sleigh by three over the next five years.
- CAP News Staff