Coburn Calls Out Senate Colleagues For Being Lazy, Biggest Waste in Government

The Senate’s top waste-watcher says the federal government is bloated with extra spending — including in the halls of Congress itself, where he says senators and staffers are collecting salaries while failing to do very much work.

Twenty senators haven’t had a single amendment considered on the chamber floor this year, and some of the most powerful committees have all but taken the year off, said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican.

The damning critique of his colleagues is part of Mr. Coburn’s “Wastebook 2012,” the latest installment in what has become an annual list of 100 curious federal spending decisions that Congress and federal agencies make each year. The book will be released Tuesday.

Making the 2012 list are a $1.5 million grant to the University of Utah to study building a better computer gaming joystick, $100,000 to send a three-member American comedy troupe on a tour of India, and part of a $325,000 grant used to build a robotic squirrel, all to test whether it could scare a real snake.

The National Institutes of Health spent $939,771 on a study to discover that a male fruit fly, given the choice between a young female and an older female fly, chose the younger.

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