Cortez Masto, Flake Move to Eliminate Wasteful Government Spending

December 7, 2018 by TWN Staff
Arachis hypogaea, Fabaceae, Peanut, Groundnut, fruits. The dried fruits are used in homeopathy as remedy: Arachis hypogaea (Ara-h.) [Wikimedia:H. Zell]

On the Chopping Block: Paying Federal Loans in Peanuts, Federal Grants for Robot Bartenders, Agricultural Subsidies for Bug-Based Foods

On Wednesday, just weeks before the 115th Congress comes to a close, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) launched a bipartisan effort to eliminate wasteful government spending. Named the Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act, this legislation would cut some of the more bizarre items in the federal budget, including agricultural subsidies for bug-based foods and federal grants for robot bartenders. The bipartisan duo of senators asserted the legislation would cut wasteful spending and save the federal government tens of millions of dollars each year.

“With the national debt standing at more than $21 trillion dollars, we must begin to eliminate wasteful spending happening in the federal government,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

“This legislation will save tens of millions of dollars that could go towards paying down our national debt, supporting our veterans, or funding important medical research,” she added.

The legislation would also prohibit the repayment of loans with peanuts, a program first instituted in the 2014 Farm Bill to stabilize the American peanut industry.

“It’s just nuts to shell out millions of dollars to subsidize surplus piles of peanuts, bug-based foods, and robobartenders. With $1 trillion being added to the national debt every year, it especially bugs taxpayers that all they hear from Washington about cutting waste is crickets. The REDUCE Government Waste Act gives Congress a starting point by saving millions,” added Senator Flake.

Following are additional details outlining provisions in the bill.

Prohibit The Repayment of Loans with Peanuts: This bill would end a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program which accepts peanuts as payment for federal loans. This program cost American taxpayers a whopping $13.6 million in 2016 and $31.5 million in 2017.

Prohibit Agricultural Subsidies for Bug-Based Foods: This bill would prohibit the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from using funds to research the development and taste-testing of insect-based foods for human consumption. It would also prevent funds from being utilized to research cricket farming. The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture spent more than $1.3 million in grants for companies to research taste-testing of insects and the costs of farming crickets.

Permanently Eliminate Grants for Robot Bartenders: This bill would permanently prohibit the Department of Defense from using funds to research the development of beerbots and robot bartenders. The Department of Defense and National Science Foundation recently gave grants, with one worth nearly $175,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that was then utilized to work on robots that served beer. However, the concept of robot bartenders has already been extensively researched by and involved in the private industry. For example, in 2014, Royal Caribbean cruise ships featured the “Makr Shakr,” a robot developed by MIT that would prepare customers’ drink orders.

In The News

Health

Voting

Spotlight

Washington, D.C., One Step Closer to Statehood
Congress
Washington, D.C., One Step Closer to Statehood
April 23, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to make the District of Columbia the 51st U.S. state at a time political support for the legislation is the strongest it has ever been. The bill, entitled H.R. 51, now heads to the Senate, where... Read More

Warren Buffett Joins Effort by Corporate America to Condemn Voting Restrictions
Political News
Warren Buffett Joins Effort by Corporate America to Condemn Voting Restrictions
April 18, 2021
by Dan McCue

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined hundreds of other capitalists and corporate titans in signing an open letter condeming “discrimnatory” legislation designed to curtail voting rights. The letter, which appeared under the headline “We Stand for Democracy,” appeared as a double-page, centerfold advertisement in Thursday’s editions of... Read More

Disease Experts Look to the End Of Pandemic But Aren't Sure When
Health
Disease Experts Look to the End Of Pandemic But Aren't Sure When
April 16, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- As the U.S. death toll reached 564,000 from COVID-19, the nation’s top disease experts said Thursday normal life will return for Americans only when enough of them get vaccinated. But with more than 70,000 new infections daily, they could not predict for Congress when... Read More

Material Hardship Can Cause  Adverse Health Outcomes in Young Adults
Mental Health
Material Hardship Can Cause Adverse Health Outcomes in Young Adults
April 15, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

An Urban Institute survey covering the first year of the coronavirus pandemic found that despite a steep drop in employment, the share of young adults reporting food insecurity or problems paying utility and medical bills actually declined compared to previous studies.  “Measures of hardship look at... Read More

‘Devil is in the Details’ of Corporate Tax Reform
Business
‘Devil is in the Details’ of Corporate Tax Reform
April 9, 2021
by Victoria Turner

Just as corporations and tax practitioners are beginning to adjust to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Biden administration’s proposed changes would introduce further complexities into an already complicated system, according to three U.S.-based tax attorneys. Biden’s proposal increases the standard corporate tax rate,... Read More

U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record High in February
Trade
U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record High in February
April 7, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record high in February as the nation’s economic activity rebounded more quickly than that of other nations carefully shake off the economic hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The trade deficit jumped 4.8% to a record $71.1... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top