There’s a reason Congress has a 22% approval rating. It’s a broken institution seemingly incapable of performing the basic tasks of governance without mindboggling levels of dysfunction and corruption. The latest example of said incompetence comes courtesy of the 4,155-page “omnibus” budget bill revealed this week, which circumvents the proper spending allocation process to ram through a massive package that most members of Congress won’t have even read.
The inevitable result of this kind of governance is a spending package with too many wasteful and corrupt spending items, known as earmarks, slipped in to keep track of. Here are just 5 of the most absurd things slipped into Congress’s latest budget.
1. $410 million for border security… in random other countries
Most Americans would agree that securing our nation’s border is a basic function of our federal government. But what about Egypt’s border? The omnibus allocates $410 million for border security in a seemingly random collection of foreign nations including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Oman, and Lebanon.
…but at the same time, allocates $410 million towards border security for Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman.
America Last in action. pic.twitter.com/KSkgtTEtmL
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) December 20, 2022
2. $65 million for the salmon community
American families are struggling to put food on the table right now amid crushing inflation. But our lawmakers evidently think the needs of the salmon population are a top concern. They’re allocating $65 million for “the restoration of Pacific salmon populations” in the omnibus. Oh, and, as Rep. Dan Bishop points out, “Lest the other fish feel left out of the spending spree, [t]here’s [also] $65.7 million for international fisheries commissions.”
3. $3.6 million for the Michelle Obama trail
No omnibus bill would be complete without some shameless tribute to the political class. This one apparently sets aside $3.6 million for funding the “Michelle Obama hiking trail” under the Department of Transportation.
4. $200 million for “gender equity and equality”… including in Pakistan
The idea of gender “equity”—as opposed to equality—is controversial enough among Americans to make taxpayer funding of it controversial. But what about in Pakistan?
The budget bill allocates $200 million for a “Gender Equality and Equity Fund,” of which some of the funds “shall be made available for programs to promote democracy and for gender equality in Pakistan.”
Ah, yes, good to see Congress addressing Americans’ top concerns.
5. $3 million for an LGBTQ museum in New York
Taxpayers from Alaska to Hawaii will now get the chance to fund random stuff in New York for New Yorkers to enjoy. One glaring example includes $3 million for an LGBTQ history museum in New York. I guess it helps your state benefit more from the grift when your senator, Chuck Schumer, is in the leadership!
Rest assured, these are just a few examples of corrupt and absurd spending items in this behemoth spending bill. Finding and highlighting them all will take weeks if not months.
Is it any wonder they want to ram through this massive bill without anyone even having time to fully read it before a vote?
***Credit to Congressman Dan Bishop for highlighting these examples in an invaluable Twitter thread.