In his latest delve into wasteful government spending, Rep. Tom Reed questions the State Department's decision last month to allocate $704,198.03 for gardening at a U.S. Ambassador's Brussels residence. According to reports, the funds will provide for grass cutting, weeding, trimming and edging. Also included is the planting of over 900 tulips, begonias, and violas.
"The federal government is prioritizing gardening when we have a national debt of more than $16.7 trillion, a national unemployment rate of 7.7 percent, and higher taxes burdening families and small businesses. I'm sure taxpayers could think of 704,198 better ways for their money to be spent than on shrubbery," Reed said.
Last month, the State Department issued warnings that security at foreign facilities would have to be scaled back due to budget cuts. "If asked to choose between shrubbery and security, I would like to think taxpayers would choose the latter."
The State Department is looking into similar awards for gardening in a host of other United States Embassies including those in Indonesia, Jakarta, and Chile.
Last year, Reed began an initiative to spotlight taxpayer dollars being frittered away by federal agencies. The program has highlighted more than $14,771,638,198 of wasteful spending thus far.