Federal Waste

$2.6m for chimpanzee care

Senator James Lankford’s report entitled, “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball,” lists $473.6 billion in wasteful and inefficient federal spending.

The current federal debt is $20.49 trillion. The one-year deficit for Fiscal Year 2017 was $666 billion.

“The outrageous federal deficit remains too high,” Lankford said. “Unfortunately, Washington, D.C., seems to be distracted and the deficit has started increasing again. Our $20 trillion national debt will continue to increase until we implement spending cuts, government reforms, and create a healthy economy.

“This Federal Fumbles report provides commonsense examples of ways to limit our spending and fix government inefficiency. Every American should have access to how their tax dollars are spent. Congress should pass my Taxpayers Right to Know Act to give each American the opportunity to see how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent.”

Examples of Waste listed in 2017 Federal Fumbles Report:

  • Despite announcing in 2015 that National Institutes of Health would cease funding all biomedical research conducted on chimpanzees, National Institutes of Health provided $2.6 million in 2015-2016 to operate the National Center for Chimpanzee Care.
  • A $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant supports the production of Doggie Hamlet, which is conducted outdoors and is mostly humans yelling or running toward confused sheep and dogs.
  • A 2014 Treasury Inspector General investigation discovered from 2010 to 2013, the IRS hired 824 people who were previously terminated due to “prior conduct or performances issues.”
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation loaned $85 million to construct a hotel and apartment in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • The NSF funded a project ($40,000.00) to see what public services are provided to Syrian refugees by the Icelandic government. Iceland has refugees.
  • FEMA is authorized to give disaster relief to nonprofits, including museums, public services, libraries, zoos and nonprofits that provide health services. FEMA refuses help to churches (house of worship) even though they almost always offer a place of refuge for disaster victims.
  • The National Archives gave a $100,000.00 grant to digitize 250 hours of video taken in the 1970s – an average cost of $400.00 an hour.
  • The Inspector General of the Department of Defense reports that the department can’t track more than $1,000,000,000.00 in missing equipment, including small arms, mortars and Humvees that were bought for Iraqi security forces.
  • The NEA funded a $20,000 camp for “artists and scientists investigating the issues surrounding climate change.” The funding for this summer camp for artists and scientists was part of $755,000 in funding this year for artist housing.
  • The DOE paid $138,000 for an engineer to take coursework unrelated to his job while pursuing a law degree. After he got his degree, he left for a private law firm.
  • In FY14, the Army canceled plans for the ground-combat vehicle after determining it would not meet Army needs – after spending $1,400,000,000.00 on development and four years of reports stating the project was not feasible and had not been properly planned.
  • Over the last five years, the NIH has spent $1,600,000.00 on research to discover that people paid to lose weight tend to lose more weight than those not paid to lose weight.
  • The NSF approved $150,382 to document the Domaaki language of Northern Pakistan. The NSF gave $203,424 to study the grammar and tone of the Seenku language from the west African country of Burkina Faso. In 2016, the NSF funded another project in northern Pakistan for researchers “to describe the sound system of (the language of) Kalasha.” In 2015, the NSF provided $347,466 to study four languages in New Guinea. A four-year grant that concluded in 2016 spent $408,520 to study the languages spoken in Nepal’s Manang district.
  • A $100,000.00 grant to the Artistic Practice Toward Urban Resilience in San Francisco to demonstrate how artists work to show the impact of climate change in the San Francisco Bay area and how works of art can “inform, inspire, and empower communities at risk.”
  • Late in 2016, the DOT announced a $1.04 billion grant toexpand the San Diego trolley service by 10.9 miles. This project, coming in at just under $100 million a mile, is expected to become operational in 2021. By comparison, building a four-lane highway can cost between $4 to $10 million, which means instead of a 10-mile trolley extension, this $1 billion investment could have paid to put in 100 to 250 new miles of four-lane highways anywhere in America.
  • American taxpayers paid $11.3 million through the Department of State in 2010 and 2013 to build a prison in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province to house 495 inmates. Due to contractor error and lack of oversight, the prison is still not fully operational.
  • Late in 2016, the NEA announced $100,000 in funds to “support the implementation of a program to present performing artists from China in communities across the United States.

“This book is designed to be a reminder that we still have an issue with debt and deficit in America,” Lankford said. “For some reason, the conversation has slowed on the issue of debt and deficit. It should not. This should be an ongoing part of our conversation. Starting in 2010 when our deficit was 1.4 trillion dollars, it was an epic deficit that caught the nation’s attention because it had grown so incredibly large.”

Since 2011, that deficit has gone down every single year until 2016; starting in 2016 the deficit started increasing again and increased again from 2016 to 2017.

“We have got to pay attention to debt and deficit,” Lankford said. “It needs to be a part of our ongoing discussion.”

So we released out this resource again as a set of ideas to say, If we are going to get control of our spending, if we’re going to manage our economy and our spending better, there are specific ways to do it.

Lankford said tax reform needs to go along with an end to wasteful spending.

“There is a broad need for tax reform,” Lankford said. “I’m not opposed to tax reform, we just need to make sure when we do it, we do it right because we won’t get this again for another 30 years or so. When it’s done we need to build in basic protections for the just-in-case options and we also need to make realistic presentations with it… There are already changes going through as there have been a lot of conversations with multiple members. The conversations have all been productive. No one is pushing back. No one is saying ‘No we don’t want to do this.’ It’s just how do we get it done, how do we work through the parliamentary process and what’s the best way to do that.”