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Department Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 19, 2007)

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Yes. I will just explain the amendment and then I would be happy to yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Ryan) is recognized.

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I appreciate the Chair's indulgence and I will just take a moment to explain what this amendment does, and then I will yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. Chairman, there is a recent troubling report entitled ``CDC Off Center,'' which was produced under the direction of Senator Coburn with a report in the Senate Government Affairs Committee. Instead of using its resources to fight life-threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer, the CDC has instead spent money on needless luxury items and nongovernment functions.

For example, the CDC's Office of Health and Safety recently provided its employees with a new, extravagant fitness center that includes such items as rotating pastel ``mood'' lights, zero-gravity chairs, and $30,000 dry-heat saunas. The CDC has also spent over $1.7 million on a ``Hollywood liaison'' to advise TV shows like ``E.R.'' and ``House'' on medical information included in their programming, clearly an expense that should have been covered by the successful for-profit television shows, not by our hard-earned tax dollars. They also further squandered taxpayer dollars in an office intended to help improve employee morale. This program, which currently costs $250,000 per year, has yielded just 98 complaints since it was created last year. At this rate it is costing taxpayers about $3,000 per complaint. Despite the program's lack of use, the CDC is planning to spend at least $1 million more to expand it.

In a time when we are facing increasing risk of bioterrorism and disease, these are hardly the best use of taxpayer dollars.

My amendment simply would ensure that the CDC would not be able to spend any more Federal funding on these three boondoggles described above. And it is my hope that we can get the CDC focused on doing its job, which is very important and they do a good job on that, and not on these kinds of boondoggles. This report shows dozen of examples of these abuses.

And I appreciate the Chair for his indulgence and the acceptance of the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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