Snake Charmer

At a Senate budget hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, accused the Clinton Administration of having misguided priorities and suggested to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt that a $1 bounty per brown tree snake be issued to help eliminate the reptile on the Island of Guam. President Clinton wants Congress to spend $1 million to help eradicate the snake, which has overrun Guam and is threatening to spread to Hawaii and the continental United States.

But Murkowski had another idea: "If you paid kids a $1 a snake, wouldn't it do some good?" Babbitt rejected the idea, but Murkowski persisted: "I'll go out with my pile of dollar bills and you come with your scientists and we'll see who gets more snakes."

Babbitt acknowledged that Murkowski would get "a lot of snakes," but said "you wouldn't solve the problem."

Babbitt said the $1 million is needed to pay for new research to control the snakes (Scott Sonner, AP/mult., 2/26).

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