Rand Paul Releases ‘Festivus’ List of Grievances Detailing $54B in Government Waste

Asked whether he feels pressure from fellow Republicans amid all their criticism, Sen. Rand Paul shrugged and answered: “Uh, no.” | Bryan Woolston/AP Photo
Bryan Woolston/AP Photo

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released his annual report this week detailing government waste in honor of the parody holiday “Festivus,” highlighting over $54 billion in taxpayer dollars spent on items including a study examining eating ground-up bugs, spraying alcoholic rats with bobcat urine, and walking lizards on a treadmill.

Good morning and Happy #Festivus. Today we will air some more grievances in the holiday tradition!” Paul said in a lengthy Wednesday tweetstorm, highlighting various ways the government has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars over the last year alone:

This year, Paul identified $54,746,524,505.37 in government waste, which includes studies on consuming ground-up bugs ($1,327,781.72) as well as the prevalence of party drug use at NYC clubs and raves ($1,454,217).

Additionally, the National Science Foundation received $1,557,083 and walked lizards on a treadmill, while the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs received $4,575,431 in grants to spray alcoholic rats with bobcat urine.

Regarding lizards on treadmills, Paul’s report explained researchers “spent a million and a half taxpayer dollars to get six lizards, walk them on a treadmill while taking X-rays with 3D imaging technology, and then figure out how their joints moved.”

On the bobcat urine project, researchers “spent five weeks giving rats ‘intermittent’ access to alcohol to get them hooked.”

“Then, they put the rats in a cage, and literally sprayed them with bobcat urine, a predator’s odor, to simulate trauma. Then, they tested whether males and females responded differently,” the festival report explained.

The Kentucky Republican also listed his top ten grievances, which were are as listed:

  • Despite spending 15 years and billions of dollars, American counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan are ineffective (Foreign Aid)
  • The Fish and Wildlife Service is subsidizing yachting (Environment, Energy, Science) ™
  • NIH paid to find out if hot tubbing can lower stress (Health Care)
  • Using CARES Act funds, the FAA renovated a taxiway at the airport on Nantucket Island most often used by private jets (Miscellaneous)
  • NIH paid researchers to interview San Franciscans about how they use edible cannabis (Health Care)
  • FEMA paid for test tubes for COVID tests but received contaminated mini soda bottles (Miscellaneous)
  • NIH paid researchers to develop methods to stop grown adults from binge-watching television (Health Care)
  • DOD lost more than 100 drones over Afghanistan (Military)
  • USAID is open to creating a venture capital fund in Bosnia & Herzegovina for bad investments (Foreign Aid)
  • NSF ran lizards on a treadmill (Environment, Energy, Science)

Other highlights include:

  • Spent billions in Afghanistan on counternarcotics efforts: $8,620,000,000
  • Asks why stress makes hair turn grey (NIH): $36,831,620
  • Interviewed San Franciscans about their edible cannabis use (NIH): $3,125,768
  • Tested if hot tubbing can lower stress (NIH): $2,004,704
  • Sends Russians to American community colleges for a “gap year” (State): $3,250,000
  • Hired “interns” to do busy work (NPS): $57,576.77
  • Bought COVID test tubes but received unusable soda bottles (FEMA): $10,502,997.50
  • Develops a wearable headset to track eating behavior (NSF): $2,075,074
  • Tries to help people get over their fears of going to the dentist (NIH): $1,039,554

Despite the billions in waste, Paul identified himself as a “happy warrior” who will “continue to sound the alarm on waste, fraud, and abuse of your taxpayer dollars.”

“Like I said last year, Congress has every tool it needs to fight and end government waste. It’s just a matter of finding the willpower to use them,” he said. “Rest assured, I will keep fighting for fiscal sanity and providing my colleagues in Congress with the opportunity to find their fiscal backbone!”

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