It's the first day of school. Your child heads off to class, full of enthusiasm and dressed in spanking new clothes for the occasion.

On the playground, your child is taken under the wing of a seemingly friendly kid, who suggests they go behind the schoolhouse to "check out this cool skateboard."

Once out of sight, the kid pushes your child into the bushes, takes his or her lunch money, and warns your child not to tattle to anyone.

On the second day of school, the bully sidles up to your child and apologizes, providing some soothing words about joining "the gang." Once behind the school building, however, the bully and his pals rob your child's lunch money once again.

On the third day of school, the bully approaches your child on the playground. By now, your child has made a few friends. Undaunted, the bully invites the whole group behind the schoolhouse to "check out some cool video games." Once there, the bully and his pals fleece your child's group of all their lunch money, leaving them in tears.

So what happens on the fourth day of school?

If you're a Republican in Congress, you lose your lunch money again.


In recent days, anyone watching the maneuvering on user fees and FDA modernization once again has to conclude that the Republican majority is no match for the tactical skills of the FDA's friends in Congress. The low point came last week when the GOP leadership was unable to bring the Food and Drug Administration Modernization and Accountability Act of 1997 (S. 830) to a vote of the full Senate.