Today, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) commented on the Continuing Resolution Congress is currently considering to fund the government:
"I'm disappointed the Senate has once again voted to break its commitment to taxpayers and violate its budget caps. Lost in the back and forth this week regarding whether or not to shut down the government over Obamacare was a real debate about all the other things that this bill will fund. The spending restraint Americans imposed on Washington in the Budget Control Act is being undone. The big spenders in Washington in both parties have argued the CR does not spend enough and we now have a bidding war between the House and Senate over how much we should increase spending next year. The CR passed today sets fiscal year 2014 spending at $20 billion more than the spending caps set by the bipartisan compromise Budget Control Act, and includes an additional $18 billion in short-term accounting gimmicks. That means the Senate is violating the spending caps by $38 billion."
"The big spenders say sequestration has cut government to the bone, yet this restraint is helping to heal our economy by reducing the debt -- and deferred taxes -- on future generations. And in terms of waste, we've just scratched the surface. When some Senators were using flawed and pretend 'filibuster' tactics to defund Obamacare that were destined to fail, they should have instead been focusing on how the CR wastes scarce taxpayer dollars by funding, for example, studies about how Americans view the filibuster. Elsewhere, just this week the government celebrated Christmas in September by funding numerous Christmas tree projects across the country plus a number of other stupid projects like junkets for Chinese wine connoisseurs and a maple syrup recipe contest. Let's defund wasteful spending, not just Obamacare. And let's shut down wasteful spending in all its forms."
Examples of wasteful spending to shutdown include hundreds of new grants costing tens of millions of dollars or more announced just this week:
- Thirty five wine projects, such as funding for 10 grants to support wine tasting including wine trail smartphone apps to help "navigate to the next winery."
- Four Christmas tree initiatives, including support to promote Virginia Christmas trees, to shear Michigan Christmas trees, and training seminars on best practices for exporting Christmas trees
- The "USA Pear Road Show" to China, a federally funded trip to Asia to advertise American pears.
- Social media for apples
- Radio advertisements about New Jersey blueberries
- Two promotional campaigns to promote strawberries
- Funding for the Organizing Maple Weekend in Massachusetts which includes a recipe contest
- Funding for a YouTube video promoting proper handling of watermelon (Georgia Watermelon Association)
Examples of wasteful spending supported by the CR include:
- Funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the development of - - -"Snooki," a robot bird that impersonates a female sage grouse to examine the importance of courtship tactics of males.
- Funding for an NSF grant that studies Americans' attitudes towards the U.S. Senate filibuster
- NSF grant to SiteJabber.com, a new website to rate the trustworthiness of other websites
- NSF grant funding to EcoATM, a company commercializing an "ATM" to give out cash in exchange for old cell phones and other electronics
- NSF grant paying for participants' expenses to attend an annual snowmobile competition in Michigan through 2015
- NSF grant paying for meditation and self-reflection for math, science, and engineering majors
- Four-year NSF grant that funds displays along the six Indianapolis waterways, used to display paintings about Indianapolis's water system.
- The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences is funding "Puppets Take Long Island," a puppet festival at a Long Island New York children's museum.