Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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WASHINGTON– U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced the REDUCE Government Waste Act to cut wasteful spending and save the federal government tens of millions of dollars each year.

“It’s just nuts to shell out millions of dollars to subsidize surplus piles of peanuts, bug-based foods, and robobartenders,” said Flake. “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.”

“With the national debt standing at more than $21 trillion dollars, we must begin to eliminate wasteful spending happening in the federal government,” said Cortez Masto. “The REDUCE Government Waste Act is a good starting point to help us eliminate unnecessary government spending. 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.”

To view the full text of the bill, click here.

Background:

The bipartisan Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act would eliminate some of the most bizarre examples of wasteful spending. It includes provisions to:

  • Prohibit The Repayment of Loans with Peanuts: This bill would end a 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 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration 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.

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