Hank Johnson Speaks About The Importance Of Helium…and Balloons.

For some reason, the Federal government has a “helium reserve.” And for some other reason Congress considered a bill to make changes to the management of that reserve. So, it should come as no surprise that Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson decided to speak in favor of this bill. I mean, how could he resist?

Here’s a video of some of the Congressman’s humorous remarks.


  1. griftdrift says:

    Johnson is a goofball.

    But the helium reserve, a frequent target during times where we actually worry about what the government does, as opposed to times where we don’t, i.e. the previous ten years, is actually pretty useful.

    In light of Johnson’s obvious having fun moment, I’ll also use a light hearted approach to show why. As with most things I turn to Cracked.

    “Actually, if you have benefited from a piece of technology more complex than a sharp rock tied to a stick, it was probably made with the help of helium.”

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_19048_6-important-things-you-didnt-know-were-running-out-of.html#ixzz2Rb0d30g1

    • Loren says:

      He does a good job at keeping a straight face, but yeah, that’s some really awful delivery.

      I’m pretty sure he’s joking, though; there’s no way he accidentally referred to helium as a “noble” element. It’s not a *good* joke, but it means he at least knows what he’s saying.

    • George Chidi says:

      I like Hank Johnson. I’ve donated to exactly one congressional candidate in my life: Johnson, when he was running against Cynthia McKinney. And as long as McKinney is alive, I’m going to support him. I think he’s done well.

      He tends to be focused on small business and entrepreneurial issues with his legislation, including a bunch of stuff that Republicans should be getting behind. For example, H.R. 1621 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the 2010 increase in the deduction for start-up expenditures, and H.R. 1622 would keep giant companies like IBM and AT&T from using bulls–t “small business” subsidiaries from capturing federal contract work that’s designated for actual small businesses.

      His sensible nuts-and-bolts pothole-level legislation like this never gets any attention because — and again, I really like him — he’s just about the worst public speaker in Congress. He sounds like Mitch Hedberg on Quaaludes when he’s delivering a joke. It’s not that it’s not funny: it’s that I can’t always tell if I should laugh or call paramedics.

  2. Jon Richards says:

    I happened to be in DC as this debate was going on, having some meetings with congressmen. As one pointed out, the main beneficiaries of the helium reserve are some of the connected helium purchasers, who are able to purchase it at bel0w-market prices due to the reserve. While the US owns a portion of the known reserves, it is readily available elsewhere.

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