Senate Republicans issued a rejoinder on Friday to Democrats in what might be called the emerging "Donut Hole War" on Capitol Hill.

Senate GOP staff delivered donut holes to members of the media seated in the Capitol's press galleries after Democrats delivered treats of their own on Thursday to promote benefits to seniors in their healthcare reform bill (the Dems donuts are pictured here).

Republicans distributed the donut holes, but with some rules, which they called "simple Democrat rules for enjoying donut holes this morning":

  1. If you take a donut hole you must notify 9 of your colleagues that they will not be eligible to have a donut hole this morning.
  2. This time it’s on us, but next time you’ll have to find 3 colleagues to pay for your donut hole before you can enjoy one.
  3. If you’re from Vermont, please enjoy….just kidding, don’t even look at these donut holes. And if you had one yesterday please put it back in the box. Thanks.
  4. Don’t bad mouth the donut holes. Seriously, we mean it. HHS doesn’t fool around.
  5. If you have another breakfast treat in mind this morning, we’re sorry, you may not be allowed to enjoy it now that we’ve helpfully provided these holes.

Democratic staff delivered donuts Thursday to drive home their point about the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage for seniors, a gap in the government's support for prescription drugs that will be closed by the health reform law. The donuts came as part of a promotional push toward seniors as the government prepared to distribute $250 rebate checks to help pay for prescription drugs.

The GOP staff listed a number of real-life parallels in healthcare law that they said justify the satirical rules for donut consumption. For instance, they pointed to Vermont's decision to confiscate some of the rebates to seniors, or the Health and Human Services Department's pressure on insurers to quickly implement new rules in health reform.