Lot of hot air for helium

May 15, 2013 

Imagine a world without giant gorillas floating above car dealerships or a Goodyear blimp to provide peculiar views of football stadiums and their surrounding parking lots? Imagine a birthday party without balloons?

Sounds like a post-Armageddon scenario, doesn’t it?

So we’re glad the U.S. House spent two full legislative days to head off a worldwide shortage of helium, the second-most plentiful element in the universe.

Helium does more than make your voice go squeaky and high, it cools the magnets in MRI machines, and is used in computer chips and fiber optic cables. It makes sense to release some of the federal government’s helium reserves to supplement insufficient production from private sources to meet the rising global demand.

We’re just not sure the House needed to spend 48 hours of precious floor time on a bill that received a 394-1 vote. How about using that time to restore – a la air traffic controllers – hot meals for home-bound seniors?

Congress could have taken a lighter approach toward the funniest element on the periodic table – He He He – and moved on to something heavier.

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