Congress Cuts Spending, Gives Itself a Raise

Apr 09, 2013

li-boehner-620-01043246The U.S. Congress announced today it has managed to cut an additional $100 million in wasteful government programs from the federal budget, and then promptly gave itself a raise exactly equal to the amount cut.

In a joint press conference, Democratic and Republican leaders hailed the cuts as a sign of “fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship” in their ongoing efforts to reduce the nation’s $16.6 trillion debt, despite the gridlock and partisan warfare that has characterized budget negotiations for the past several months.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the “painful budget cuts” take a critical eye to controversial government grants, pork barrel projects and perks for politicians.

“While it’s disappointing that a museum for neon lights in Las Vegas will not get the necessary funding, I think every little bit counts as we seek to rein in spending,” Reid said.

The government spending cuts and reductions also include robot squirrels, video game research, scholarships for foreign students, research on cocaine use by quails, the promotion of Alabama-grown watermelons and funding of North Korea’s long-range missile research.

What Good We Do

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said a popular proposal is to slash $2 million in U.S. government aid earmarked to the North Korean government for weapons research.

“Nobody is quite sure how that item got in there, but thank God someone caught it,” Boehner said.

The proposed cuts are expected to be signed by President Barack Obama, who has already signed $85 billion in cuts from the federal budget.

Congress will next have to agree on a budget to keep the government running until October.

Here is a list of some of budget cuts and reductions Congress has proposed, including the estimated savings:

Government

  • Spending ceiling on $500 hammers for government defense contractors. Estimated savings: $4 million.
  • The Department of Energy must turn off the office lights when no one is in the room. Estimated savings: $3.2 million.
  • Reduction in subsidy for the Senate’s barbershop, which caters to senators and staff members. Estimated savings: $200,000.
  • Former legislators get access to parking, dining rooms and exercise facilities for free only on weekdays. Estimated savings: $1 million.
  • Vice President Joe Biden has to maintain his own yard. Estimated savings: $5,000.

Research and Development

  • Reduction for research on how cocaine affects Japanese quail. Estimated savings: $125,000.
  • Reduction in funding for boring video games about prom night and the recession. Estimated savings: $350,000.
  • End promotion of shampoo and beauty products to cats and dogs. Estimated savings: $505,000.
  • End scientific funding of robot squirrels to study how a predator might react to robot prey. Estimated savings: $325,000.
  • Postpone creation of proposed Department of Silly Walks. Estimated savings: $10 million.
  •  End funding for the Alabama Watermelon Queen tour to promote the consumption of Alabama’s watermelons. Estimated savings: $25,000.

Foreign Aid

  • End of subsidized pottery classes for Moroccan students. Estimated savings: $27 million.
  • Reduction in foreign aid for helping “pro-American” presidential candidates in Latin America “win” election. Estimated savings: $5 million.
  • Reduction in overtime pay for CIA agents who are monitoring Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s whereabouts. Estimated savings: $500,000.
  • End of foreign aid sponsoring North Korea’s long-range missiles program. Estimated savings: $2 million.
  • Master’s degree students from Indonesia must pay their own way when attending American universities. Estimated savings: $16 million.
  • Reduction in spending for overly colorful flowers for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Estimated savings: $50,000.

Senator Reid says Congress has already decided how it will spend the money saved from these wasteful programs

"We did such a good job on this one," he said, "if it wasn't for our hard work, these savings never would have been made. I think its only fair that we get to keep it.

"We voted on a bill this afternoon to give Congress and their staffers a $100 million raise. You're welcome America."