The Lame Duck Congress (Episode 206)
First Aired: Wednesday, 8th November, 2000
Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr
Director: Jeremy Kagan











People Who Lose The Ability To Pinch ... I Don't Know From Where They Summon The Will To Go On
Josh's Office / Bullpen / Corridors of the West Wing. Josh and Donna watch as CJ finishes the press briefing, then walk and talk.

JOSH: She walked into it. She knows it, too.
DONNA: Walked into what?
JOSH: She can't confirm that the President hasn't considered it unless she asks the President if he's considered it, at which point, he'll have considered it.
DONNA: That sounds pretty stupid.
JOSH: It was a better organised thought when it was in my head. Is she almost done?
DONNA: She's wrapping up.
JOSH: Let's go.
DONNA: Has he considered it?
JOSH: No.
DONNA: Why not?
JOSH: Why should he?
DONNA: If he thinks he has a better chance of ratifying the test ban treaty with this Congress than the new one--
JOSH: He doesn't.
DONNA: But if Morgan Mitchell--
JOSH: Mitchell's not a factor.
DONNA: Josh, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration--
JOSH: No.
DONNA: OSHA--
JOSH: How do you change subjects so fast?
DONNA: Josh--
JOSH: I mean it--how do you go from a test ban treaty and a lame duck Congress to OSHA?
DONNA: Because I'm me. You know how many people acquire carpal-tunnel syndrome?
JOSH: It shouldn't surprise you to learn that I do not.
DONNA: Six hundred thousand Americans a year. Do you have any idea how painful it is?
JOSH: Donna, in the scheme of things, who really cares--
DONNA: (grabs his ear and twists) Do you have any idea how painful it is?
JOSH: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
DONNA: In your forearm, no grip. You lose the ability to pinch.
JOSH: People who lose the ability to pinch ... I got to tell you, I don't know from where they summon the will to go on.
DONNA: You guys are on the wrong side of this.
JOSH: Aren't you one of you guys?
DONNA: Not on this.








You're Going To Have To Ask Somebody Else Who, You Know, Cares
Corridors of the West Wing / Bullpen / Josh's Office. Josh and Donna walk and talk.

DONNA: See, what I think you don't understand is that carpal-tunnel is only one of many afflictions that fall under the category of repetitve stress injuries, or RSI, and which are covered by the science of ergonomics.
JOSH: I'm not in charge of the science of ergonomics. You're going to have to ask somebody else who, you know, cares.
DONNA: You don't have to be in charge of it, OSHA is. They've come up with a new series of industry standards, and I want to know why the White House isn't implementing them.
JOSH: Because the FDA says the cost to small businesses could exceed $18 billion dollars the first year, there will be a huge increase in workman's compensation premiums, and Republicans find the word "ergonomic" to be silly.
DONNA: If we backed out of everything because of words the Republicans found silly, we'd have a lot of pregnant teenagers and no health care.
JOSH: We do have a lot of pregnant teenagers and no health care.
DONNA: So, how's your plan working out so far?








Oh, How I Miss The Cold War
Josh's Office. Josh finishes his meeting with Konanov and his aide.

KONANOV: I wish to speak to the President!
JOSH: Now, that's not going to happen, and you damn well know it!
AIDE: You speak to him in this tone?
JOSH: He's drunk in my office, and I will speak to him in whatever tone pleases me. (shouts) Donna! (she appears) Put two uniformed agents outside my office, tell Leo I'm coming over.
DONNA: Yeah.
JOSH: Oh, how I miss the Cold War.









Hey! Norma Rae! Get In Here!
Leo's Office / Corridors of the West Wing / Bullpen. Donna walks past while Leo and Josh talk.

JOSH: Hey! Norma Rae! Get in here! (indicates Leo) The man's trying to run a country.
DONNA: This is a law that would prevent 32 to 95,000 injuries a year.
LEO: Not here it wouldn't.
DONNA: Why not?
JOSH: The White House and Congress are exempt from the workplace-related laws they pass.
DONNA: The White House and Congress are exempt.
JOSH: Yeah.
DONNA: Well, that makes things considerably easier for yourselves.
LEO: Yeah. Josh. Set it up.
DONNA: You've got your four o'clock?
(she leaves, he follows her)
JOSH: I got a job for you.
DONNA: Congress and the White House are exempt.
JOSH: Get past it.
DONNA: What do you need?
JOSH: I need Vasily Konanov to meet with someone of absolutely no consequence. You're my girl.
DONNA: What the hell are you--
JOSH: I need you to meet with Vasily Konanov.
DONNA: Why?
JOSH: So the President can drop in and interrupt you.
DONNA: Are you kidding me?
JOSH: No.
DONNA: So, I'm a beard.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: I'm being used.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: As a dupe.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: How am I supposed to feel about that?
JOSH: How do you usually feel about that?
DONNA: Josh!
JOSH: Donna!
DONNA: My value here is that I have no value.
JOSH: You have enormous value to me. You have no value to Eastern Europe.
DONNA: Okay, you know what this is?
JOSH: No.
DONNA: This is an opportunity.
JOSH: That's right.
DONNA: This is an audience with a man who understands the plight of the worker.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: Or do you think becuase he's a reformer, he'll understand the plight of economics?
JOSH: Well, he's drunk and doesn't speak a lot of English, so I don't think he's going to understand much of anything at all, but set up the meeting and knock him dead.




Many thanks to The West Wing Collection for the wonderful screencaps!