WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congress has asked all non-essential businesses to limit their hours or close entirely for an undetermined amount of time.
But this shutdown mistakenly shut down the most non-essential entity of all: the government. For a brief period of time, all government in the United States was illegal, since it is completely non-essential to everything.
"Oops," said Senator Mitch McConnell. "We meant non-essential private businesses. Of course, the government is always essential, even when it's not doing anything or is making things worse."
Senators, congresspeople, and bureaucrats frantically rewrote the ban to include only businesses that actually produced something and not government agencies that just watched other people make stuff. Though they had dragged their feet on passing bills related to relieving the financial distress of the shutdown, they passed this revision in record speed, almost as quickly as they vote for pay raises for themselves.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she would have caught the mistake but had passed the ban in a hurry, saying, "We had to pass the ban to see what it did."