WASHINGTON—Overturning a law that has been in place for 24 years, Congress approved a temporary repeal of the Minimum Drinking Age Act Wednesday upon learning that Benjamin Harrison High School student Jenny Larsen is celebrating her 17th birthday with an unsupervised party at which attendees are expecting to consume alcohol.
H.R. 874, more commonly known as the Jenny's Turning 17!!! Bill, will go into effect Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, as soon as Jenny's parents leave for their weekend trip to Vermont. Until the bill expires on Sunday afternoon, it will be legal for any American aged 17 or older—or 16 if they have a birthday coming up—to consume alcohol within the confines of 128 Longfellow Rd.
"Our system of laws is not inflexible, and at times it is necessary to make adjustments to our federal statutes to more adequately serve the interests of the American people," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said. "It is therefore the Senate's opinion that Jenny only turns 17 once, and that she deserves to have a party that is both totally awesome and permitted under United States statutory law."
"Furthermore, Brad is going to be there, and it is our understanding that Jenny really, really likes Brad," Sen. Reid added.
Reid went on to defend a number of the bill's addenda, including a provision authorizing Paul Woodard, 17, to pick up the keg, and $25.74 in federal funding to purchase a bottle of Jenny's favorite alcoholic beverage, vanilla Absolut. Congress also approved a special task force to distribute plastic red cups to attendees at the door.
A proposed rider by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) to secure invites for himself and two of his friends was defeated in committee.
"Although some will question the constitutionality of this law, there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids the United States government from saving what everyone agrees would otherwise be a totally lame party by ensuring the abundant—and legal—presence of alcohol," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. "Especially taking into consideration the fact that everyone is going to be there. Everyone."
According to Schumer, the bill contains clear wording that will keep the party from getting "out of hand." Section 211 of the legislation, titled "Regulations," states that "(a) those who imbibe an excess of alcohol will be required by law to stay overnight, so as not to drive, and to offer assistance in collecting the empty beer cans and mopping the kitchen floor the next morning, (b) Jenny's parents' bedroom is strictly off-limits, and entrance therein will result in up to 30 years in federal prison, and (c) the carrying out of activities deemed 'stupid' is prohibited, viz. climbing up onto the roof, falling off the roof, etc." There is also a proviso that prevents Trish from getting wasted on rum again and trying to make out with Andy.
The House has earmarked $54 million in case someone breaks Jenny's mother's vase and it needs to be replaced by the next morning.
Although the bill was passed by a wide margin in both the House and Senate, it has received criticism from some members of Congress, who call the law "favoritist" and "totally unfair." Those in opposition claim that it is too dangerous to allow minors to consume alcohol in an unsupervised setting; that they were not allowed to drink until they turned 21 and the same should hold true for everyone else; and that the only reason the bill passed is because Jenny is friends with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
Most legislators, however, voiced their full support of the bill.
"These children are quite popular, and they should be treated as such in the eyes of the law," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said. "Plus, they're going to drink anyway, so we might as well make it legal."
"Come on!" Boxer added. "It's Jenny's B-day!"
President Bush officially signed the Jenny's Turning 17!!! Bill into law Wednesday, making it the first self-expiring law to be passed in the U.S. since the Controlled Substances Waiver For Theaters Showing Pink Floyd's The Wall Act of 1982.