Congress Fails to Approve Bill Declaring Puppies Are Cute
By David Epstein
WASHINGTON – Amid tough negotiations and a series of votes, Congress has failed for the first time ever to pass a bill declaring that, “Puppies are among the cutest animals in the United States.”
The failure of the “Puppy Bill,” as it is known, is highly unusual, as Congress has routinely passed the measure every year for the past several decades.
The main challenge to the Puppy Bill came largely from freshman Republican lawmakers, many of whom are aligned with the Tea Party movement. Their objection was rooted in a belief that kittens are actually much cutter than puppies.
Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) embodied this sentiment, saying during a speech to the House that, “My friends across the isle seem to think that they know best, and can tell the American people which baby domestic animal is cutest.” He continued amid shouts from the Democrats’ side of the isle, “But true Americans know that Kittens are cutest. I yield the rest of my time.”
The fierce debate over the Puppy Bill has dominated Congress for the last several weeks. President Obama had spent two weeks with Speaker of the House John Boehner trying to work out a deal, but those talks were unsuccessful because Boehner refused to agree to a compromise. That deal would have declared that kittens and puppies were both cute, but that puppies were slightly cuter. Boehner believed that the base of his party would never consent to such a compromise.
Freshman GOP Congress members had previously advanced a bill that would have recognized puppies as the cutest. They declared President Obama should be impeached for not recognizing the cuteness of kittens. The bill narrowly passed the House but was never brought up for a vote in the Senate.
Motivating the urgency of the debate was the expiration of last year’s Puppy Bill, which means that the United States is now without an official cutest animal. Many have called on the President to ignore the failure of Congress to pass the Puppy Bill and simply declare, using an executive order, that puppies are the cutest.
Obama had previously ruled out that approach, saying, “Only Congress has the authority to solve this pressing national issue. I will continue to work with leaders from both parties to find a solution. Let me be clear, this nation must not be without an official cutest animal. That is not an option.”