(Washington) Internationally known philanthropist Santa Claus made a surprise appearance before Congress today to request a massive loan to keep his workshop open, asserting that, without an immediate infusion of cash, "This may be the year without a Christmas."
Mr. Claus, age unknown, offered no specifics about how he would use the government funds, asking only that the Congressmen simply "believe in" him.
The reclusive Claus has adamantly refused to divulge details of how he pays for his worldwide charitable activities. As CEO, Claus reportedly takes no salary, accepting only voluntary gratuities in the form of "milk and cookies," which has raised concerns about his ties to the powerful dairy and sugar industries.
The proposal met a chilly reception on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties expressed skepticism about extending yet another multi-billion-dollar bailout.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) peppered the so-called "Jolly Old Elf" with blunt questions. "How are we to believe that you can know who's naughty and who's nice," asked Waxman, "but you were unable to see this financial crisis coming?"
Waxman was further exasperated that, although Claus had come to the Capitol claiming poverty, he arrived in Washington via his own private sleigh.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) objected to any handout, fearing the precedent it would set. "What's next? Will we be asked to subsidize the Tooth Fairy just because the market value of baby teeth has fallen? I mean, that's simple supply-and-demand!"
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who has continued to hold weekly town-hall meetings since the election purely in order to keep griping that President-Elect Barack Obama will not join him, was cornered by Mrs. Mildred Mulheim, a feisty octogenarian who wondered why her tax money should go to someone "who's not even an American." McCain deflected her criticism by assuring her that Claus is a "decent family man," but indicated that he was worried about Claus's well-documented propensity for "spreading the wealth around".
Alaska governor Sarah Palin, in an impromptu exclusive interview between her previously scheduled exclusive interviews, voiced her own suspicions about the secretive gift-giver, wondering aloud, "Who is the real Santa Claus?"
Asserting that Alaska's proximity to the North Pole qualifies her as an expert on Christmas, Palin wanted to know more about Claus's "associations," insisting that more should be learned about Mr. Claus's history of "pallin' around with elves."
Palin also took advantage of the presence of cameras and microphones to announce that she had legally changed her surname to Palin, divulging that her husband's real name was actually Paling. "It's somethin' we've been meanin' to do for a coon's age," stated the governor and future reality-show host. "We haven't been pronouncin' the 'g' anyhoo."