Peace in Our Beltway

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Just days before the start of hearings, the Senate investigation into campaign fund-raising abuse has apparently disbanded amid a late-evening flurry of reconciliation between Congressional Republicans and Clinton Administration officials at a closed-door session in the White House. At 7:08 p.m. EDT, a brief statement was issued in the names of the President, the Vice President, and all of the members of Congress. "We've got better things to do," it read, listing three new initiatives to be institued on the Fourth of July: First, all soft-money and corporate contributions to campaigns will be banned. Second, no lobbying activities will be permitted within 20 miles of the Capitol. Finally, to increase communication and cooperation, the President and the Speaker of the House will share a single small office in the White House basement. Members of the media were not allowed in any government buildings today. But they were reassured that at 11am tomorrow, Vice President Al Gore and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Fred Thompson will address a joint press conference on the Capitol steps to answer all of their questions about the plan. Tonight, as the sun settled sleepily below the horizon, a tall, lanky man reported by some sources to have played some sort of part in the extraordinary White House session was spotted strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, hands in his pockets. Asked whether he thought the unprecedented agreements were sincere, he paused, and nodded. "I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if behind them they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary kindness and a little lookin' out for the other fella."