DeLay proposes sending Abramoff to Pluto

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As NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft waited on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral to embark on a nine-and-a-half year mission to Pluto, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) took to the floor of the House of Representative to propose sending former lobbyist Jack Abramoff on the first manned mission to that mysterious planet.

DeLay’s dramatic proposal surprised many in Congress, since the Texas lawmaker had never seemed so impassioned about the nation’s space program in the past.

But in a 45-minute speech to the House, DeLay made an emotional plea for $42.7 billion in funding that would make Abramoff the first disgraced lobbyist in space.

“If I could choose any American to put in a rocket ship and send into space for nine and a half years, that American would be Jack Abramoff,” DeLay told his colleagues.

The Texas congressman’s surprising proposal immediately drew widespread support in Congress, particularly among congressmen implicated in the ongoing lobbying corruption probe.

Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who stepped down as chairman of the House Administration Committee last week, said that he was seriously considering rescinding that decision, telling reporters, “If we wind up sending Abramoff to Pluto, that changes everything.”

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took to the floor to oppose the plan, saying, “Taxpayers should not foot the bill to give Jack Abramaoff a roundtrip ticket to Pluto.”

DeLay, however, offered this response: “Who said it was a roundtrip ticket?”

Elsewhere, President George W. Bush said that he meant to invade Iran all along, blaming the error on SpellCheck.

Andy Borowitz writes a daily humor column at borowitzreport.com.