Politics

Sen. Rand Paul Says Federal Officials Wasted $4.6 Million Studying Link Between Booze and ER Visits

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday issued a special fall edition of his annual report on waste and fraud by the federal government, including a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for studying the connection between drinking alcohol and going to the emergency room.

The Kentucky Republican is chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“So, what findings has the research helped produce? In the abstract for a 2019 paper, researchers assert that countries with high DDP [detrimental drinking pattern] are at higher risk of injury from most causes at a given level of consumption,” the Paul Waste Report said of the NIHs project.

“By contrast, the project also found that “countries with low restrictiveness of alcohol policy are at higher risk of injury at lower levels of consumption and at higher risk of traffic injuries at high levels of consumption,” the report said.

“Who would have thought that, when its easier to get your hands on alcohol, the injury risk can increase, especially when it comes to vehicle-related injuries?” the report observed.

In another example of waste by NIH, the report pointed to more than $708,000 spent by the agency on “a nearly five-year project that involves actively addicting its subjects, Zebrafish, to nicotine. The project [is] being conducted at the Queen Mary University of London.”
The project is designed to study links between genetics and addiction and “everybody agrees that nicotine addiction is a problem,” the report said.

“But you have to be smoking something other than nicotine if you think the solution is to ship American tax dollars abroad to addict Zebrafish to nicotine,” the report continued.

A third example from the Paul report was the $22 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) to train “the staff at the Regional Center for Agricultural Development (RCAD) in Sjenica, Serbia, to follow the cheese standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and help producers adopt best practices.”

The report questioned the AID grant because “the U.S. has been experiencing a massive, historic cheese surplus, one that would eventually hit 1.4 billion pounds … So American dairy farmers dealing with the realities of this situation might be cheesed off to learn their government worked to strengthen competition and the European cheese market — using their own tax dollars to boot!”

Other examples of federal waste highlighted by Paul included:

$153 million to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) despite chronic service interruptions, safety issues, and crime worries that reduced ridership to the lowest level in 20 years.

The report said “clearly, WMATA is a poor steward of public funds, be they federal, state, or local. Why Americans from across the country are being forced to subsidize the Washington, D.C., public transit systems ineptitude is beyond comprehension.

“The federal government simply cannot afford to flush $153 million down the toilet this coming year, particularly on an agency seemingly hell-bent on wasting Americans hard-earned tax dollars.”

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