Ryan Wins Overwhelming Bipartisan Support to Stop Wasteful CDC Spending
First District Congressman Paul Ryan today offered an amendment to the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill to ensure that funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are no longer squandered on unnecessary luxuries and wasteful programs. The House of Representatives approved his amendment with bipartisan support by a voice vote.
While acknowledging the dedication of many CDC employees and their vital role in protecting the health of our nation, Ryan highlighted recent examples of frivolous spending by this government agency and offered an amendment to prevent further abuses of taxpayer dollars. These examples of irresponsible spending by CDC are drawn from a recent congressional report titled CDC Off Center that was produced under the direction of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Among other irresponsible spending, this report describes how the CDC recently provided its employees with extravagant zero-gravity chairs, mood-enhancing rotating pastel lights, and dry-heat saunas.
The report also discusses how the CDC, through its Entertainment Education Program, has spent more than $1.7 million on a Hollywood liaison program run by a former employee to advise TV shows such as "ER" and "House" on health and medical information included in their programming - clearly an inappropriate expense for America's taxpayers to bear.
Another unnecessary expense outlined in this report deals with funding for ombudsmen (outside contractors who happen to be former CDC managers) intended to help improve CDC employees' morale and quality of life.
"Taxpayers expect the CDC to use their money wisely to fight life-threatening diseases and defend against the threat of bioterrorism - not waste funds on unnecessary luxuries and programs that stray from its core mission," Ryan said. "I offered this amendment to hold the agency accountable for specific cases where it squandered taxpayer dollars and prevent this from continuing. I respect the vital work of CDC employees dedicated to disease prevention and believe the agency should carefully use its resources to advance this goal."