WASHINGTON — Lobbyists for street mimes, woodchuck unions and pedestrians must have had an awful fright Thursday.
Tucked into the usually arcane "undistributed offsetting receipts" section of the fiscal 1987 budget plan that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) distributed to committee members Thursday were some highly unusual plans to ease the federal deficit.
Sen. J. James Exon (D-Neb.), leafing through his copy, could hardly contain his laughter as he loudly objected to a plan to charge residents of the nation's 10 largest cities for walking on their sidewalks. "This is designed to encourage people to stay in their cars all the time," the document explained.
Among the other proposals was a plan to require each tongue-twisting woodchuck that could chuck wood to chuck an extra 3.7 cords and to cut $423 million from the fictitious National Street Mime Corp. Insurance Fund to reflect higher unemployment among mimes. "It has been a very bad year for street mimes," the document said.
It turned out that the silly ideas had been included in the document by committee staff merely to hold the space while they formulated actual plans--but they came as a big surprise to Domenici.
"I'm glad you caught it before we passed it," he said.