Republicans call new perks "disgusting" and "out of touch."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belatedly jumped into America’s baby formula crisis on Friday, calling nationwide shortages “unconscionable” and setting an emergency vote next week. But while she tried to get Democrats caught up on a crisis that caught them by surprise, her administrative office was busy ramping up new perks for lawmakers.
House members were alerted to two new perks this week compliments of the chamber’s Democrat leadership: fully paid memberships to Peloton gyms as well as a brand new liquor and drinks outlet.
Republicans immediately seized on the optics, saying doling out additional benefits to lawmakers when everyday Americans are struggling to fill gas tanks, grocery carts or baby bottles was a bridge too far, even for Washington.
“Washington Dems couldn’t be more out of touch,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) wrote as he tweeted out a new announcement by the House Chief Administrative Officer announcing a new “House Drinks storefront” in the Rayburn House Office Building where lawmakers and staff can buy beverages, wine and liquor.
“Whether you’re hosting a meeting or an office event or just want to stock up on your favorite drinks, House Drinks sells water, soda, juice, alcohol and spirits,” the announcement boasted. “Six, twelve and 24-packs are available depending on the drink.”
Ferguson, a member of the powerful purse-strings-controlling Ways and Means Committee, sent out his tweet with the hashtag “FirePelosi” and noted “your tax dollars can be used for purchases.”
“Americans can’t afford to buy groceries or put gas in their cars, and Nancy Pelosi decides now is a good time to open a congressional liquor store on Capitol Hill,” he added.
Meanwhile, multiple members of Congress confirmed to Just the News that the Chief Administrative Officer has also decided to provide all lawmakers, staff and Capitol Police officers with free VIP memberships to Peloton gyms.
An email obtained by Fox Business said the “premier employee benefit” will provide employees with both Peloton All-Access and a Peloton App membership at no monthly cost. The network said the deal involved a $10,000 upfront payment and $10 per month per staffer who used the perk.
Peloton confirmed to Fox Business that the “the US House of Representatives is extending Peloton Corporate Wellness to all House staff and Capitol police.”
The new perks follow other benefits Congress has received — and in some cases abused — over the years, like a post office, a bank, and fat pensions. And they come after Pelosi has faced murmurs about multiple instances of being out of touch, including when she boasted about her expensive freezer filled with ice cream during the pandemic, a move some progressives claimed hurt Democrat election chances.
The gym deal resonated all the way to the campaign trail, where Tennessee House candidate Robby Starbuck decried Washington’s tone deafness.
“Moms and Dads are going to 8 stores looking for baby formula while paying for gas they can barely afford but at least the Democrats are using our tax dollars to do Peloton,” Starbuck tweeted. “Disgusting.”
The advertised purpose of the “Endless Frontier Act” is to increase high tech competition with China. This, of course, is a goal that every American should be able to get behind. However, the advertised purpose of the bill, as laudable as it may be, is not actually what the bill will do. In other words, the “Endless Frontier Act” was sold under false pretenses and using fabricated promises.
If the Senate were serious about helping America win the high tech competition with China, it would do a number of important things, including, but not limited to: (1) protect our nation’s intellectual property from theft and abuse by the Chinese; (2) make our tax code more competitive; (3) allow research and development costs to be deducted more easily thus encouraging capital investment in high tech solutions; (4) review and reform our regulatory regime that in many cases is outdated and hindering the development of new technologies and making us less competitive.
But the Senate isn’t considering any of that. Instead, their so-called plan is to spend about $110 billion in taxpayer dollars via government grants to promote new technologies to be administered by the National Science Foundation. In other words, a government agency with a horrific record of waste, fraud and abuse is going to decide what technologies look most promising and then hand out taxpayer dollars to give them a boost. This sounds like the Solyndra scandal on steroids.
So in an era when our national debt has been rapidly increasing at unsustainable rates, we are going to borrow even more money from China and become even more indebted to China — all for the purpose of being more competitive with China. Let that sink in.
But the problem doesn’t end there. The truth is the National Science Foundation (NSF) has a horrible record of waste. The NSF has funded a project to develop a robot that could fold a towel in 25 minutes. A child could fold a whole load of towels in 25 minutes, but for this stupidity you paid $1.5 million. They’ve funded studies of shrimp running on a miniature treadmill. That wasted $500,000 of your hard earned dollars. They’ve spent millions studying what motivates individuals to make political donations. They’ve spent millions studying if athlete’s perception that the basketball rim is as large as a hula-hoop, or that a baseball is as large as a grapefruit, or a golf hole appeared as big as a manhole cover impacts the athlete’s performance.
As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) highlighted on the floor of the Senate, the NSF spent $700,000 that had been allotted to study autism to listen to a tape of Neil Armstrong’s first moon walk. They wanted to determine if he said “one small step for man …” or “one small step for a man …” It took them a year and $700,000 of your money to determine that they couldn’t tell. And that was money that was supposed to be spent on autism. The NSF also spent half a million dollars developing a climate change themed video game to help children feel more alarmed.
Government is inherently wasteful. For example, our government spent over $40 million building a natural gas station to refuel cars that run on natural gas in Afghanistan to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Yet Afghanistan is a nation where the annual income is about $800 and often cook their food on open fires, and few drive any sort of car, much less a natural gas powered car. Any high schooler could have told you that building a natural gas station in a nation that doesn’t have many cars is a dumb idea.
Government has funded studying whether you and I are more or less likely to eat food that has been sneezed or coughed on by someone else. You and I could answer that question for free. We’d prefer food that hasn’t been sneezed on — even before the pandemic. But government bureaucrats spent $2 million to get the same answer.
So now we are going to rely on these same government bureaucrats to make sure we compete in the high tech arena with the Chinese and we will borrow the money that these bureaucrats decide to spend from the Chinese. What could possibly go wrong?!
I have grown to expect liberals to gladly fund such utter foolishness from our paychecks. But it isn’t just them, there were 19 Republicans who voted for this insanity: Blunt (MO), Capito (WV), Collins (ME), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), Daines (MT), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), McConnell (KY), Murkowski (AL), Portman (OH), Risch (ID), Romney (UT), Rounds (SD), Sasse (NE), Sullivan (AK), Tillis (NC), Wicker (MS), and Young (IN).
Those who voted for this bill will undoubtedly defend their vote telling you that they want America to compete and win against China in the high tech arena. We all would like that! But let’s try something novel. Let’s do things that would actually help our innovators innovate; and help our businesses and industries compete and win. Also let’s not put a wasteful and often silly government agency in charge of the program. Instead, let’s unleash America’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. And let’s not borrow the money from the very nation we claim to be trying to out compete.
In Washington, bad ideas are like bad pennies: They keep turning up.
In early 2019 a group of well-connected Washington insiders was suggesting with the utmost sincerity that it would be best to have the Pentagon in charge of the push to 5G, the next-level communications network. The primary reason for this, they said, was national security and the threat posed by China.
President Donald J. Trump, a man who is in no way soft on China, wisely rejected their advice. In a Rose Garden press conference with Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai, he rejected the government-led approach, calling it “not as good, and not as fast.” Instead, he committed to a 5G buildout that would be “private sector driven, and private sector led,” ending talk of a nationalized network.
Or so we thought. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the idea of a 5G network run out the Pentagon is once again on the table. A new proposal for a government-managed system under the supervision of a single company is once again under discussion. And, as before, the firm the DoD has in mind has little to no experience managing large information clusters.
The reason the idea’s come back has more to do with the swamp-dwellers who profit off big government contracts than with the science involved, the efficiency needed to bring 5G to life quickly, or the ability of firms in the private sector to make it all happen. It’s crony capitalism at its worst.
The best way to get to 5G is to allow the best minds and best engineers in the best firms to develop competing technologies – with the winner to be chosen in the marketplace. The plan being pushed yet again by the DoD gives one company – in this case, most likely Rivada Networks – control of the spectrum and its allocation as well as access to the protected intellectual property of those who’d be doing the job if the Pentagon had not taken the project over. At least that’s the opinion of 19 U.S. Senators who wrote the department complaining the way it wanted to move forward “contradicts the successful free-market strategy that has embraced 5G.”
Somehow what President Donald J. Trump likes to call “the race to 5G” is again in danger of being taken over by the officials in charge of it. Instead of fair competition, a vital future national and economic security project is being influenced unfairly by what leading congressional Democrats including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., say is a plan “specifically crafted to enrich President Trump’s cronies.”
Partisan hyperbole aside, it’s easy to see Pallone’s point. Building a national 5G network requires more than influential political connections. Rivada Networks, the company lobbying hardest to win the bid, is not exactly known for its ability to build out and manage broadband networks. Its proposal to manage FirstNet, a nationwide public safety broadband system, was shot down due to concerns at the Interior Department over concerns about the insecurity of its technology.
One might think this would give the Pentagon pause, yet Rivada’s advocates within the department say they are confident the company can get the job done and have an operating network functioning within three years. Of course these are some of the same people who have already spent more than a decade and hundreds of billions or more on the development of the new multi-service Joint Strike Fight and still haven’t gotten it right.
Chairman Pai, a national hero for his work preventing the Internet from coming under the thumb of the U.S. government as a regulated utility, has dismissed the effort to get to a nationalized 5G run by the Pentagon as being a costly and counterproductive distraction from what America ought to be doing. The federal government moves slowly by design. Processes that work quickly in an authoritarian country like China don’t work in America. Here, roadblocks and rulemaking are the order of the day. Washington can’t compete with the U.S. private sector. In Beijing, the private and public sectors are indistinguishable.
Thanks to President Trump, Chairman Pai, and others who understand the stakes, America is a lot farther down the road to a working 5G network than people might believe. Thanks to a competitive market where the nation’s three largest carriers have all prioritized building the nation’s biggest, fastest 5G network, we’ll get there faster and in better shape than if we let the government do it.
Frontiers of Freedom expressed great alarm this week over the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) latest financial results which showed $748 million in losses during the first quarter of FY 2020.
George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom, said:
“The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging money! In the first quarter of FY 2020, they have already reported $748 million in losses. And it isn’t like 2019 was a good year. Last year, they lost an unbelievable $8.8 billion in FY2019. To put that into perspective, the Postal Service has posted 13 consecutive years with a net loss of a billion dollars or more, and its unfunded liabilities and debt now total more than $143 billion. It is extraordinarily difficult to lose that kind of money when you are operating a government-granted monopoly like the Postal Service has on First Class Mail.”
Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith also called out the agency over its negligence and financials, stating:
“It is readily apparent that the current USPS business model is failing. It is up to Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, and the new heads of the USPS Board of Governors to address the ongoing challenges. This includes ending nonsensical postal subsidies, trimming down the agency’s excessive costs, and complying with new laws impacting the USPS.”
Frontiers of Freedom previously hailed the work of Congress and President Trump to address some of USPS’ major systemic flaws with the enactment of the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act in 2018. This bill was an essential step in requiring the Postal Service to meet industry standards in data collection and monitoring practices of packages that enter the U.S. from abroad.
Despite the required protocols to protect our communities from hazardous and criminal items, the Government Accountability Office reports that USPS continues to fall short on its requirements to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with advanced electronic data (AED).
Failing to keep up with the directives of the STOP Act prompts further troublesome questions as the Department of Homeland Security embarks on robust initiatives to impede the flow of counterfeit and pirated goods. However, in assessing the Postal Service, DHS finds a “significant gap in the information CBP receives,” among numerous critiques and findings. Landrith remarked, “Ultimately, the work to intercept illicit drugs and contraband is an immense challenge, and there is simply no excuse for USPS to not do its part.”
On the USPS’ array of responsibilities, Landrith concluded:
“Americans should be greatly concerned about the USPS procrastinating on its priorities. Looking ahead, it is crucial for the board to install a new Postmaster General with well-qualified business expertise. The demands of stakeholders, legislators and citizens continue to go unanswered. The path to reform will be wide-ranging, and USPS leaders and lawmakers will need to act with urgency.”
In their constant search for shutdown-related disasters, the media are now fixated on airport screeners. The shutdown is wreaking havoc on airports, they say. Except that it isn’t. The shutdown does, however, present an opportunity to re-privatize the troublesome TSA.
News reports focus on the fact that TSA worker no-shows are up from a year ago. But the TSA’s own data show that wait times haven’t changed. Its latest report finds that “99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 95.4% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.”
That’s in line with normal operations. TSA reported in 2017, for example, that 99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes during summer months. Continue reading
Twelve conservative leaders, including former Attorney General Ed Meese, CHQ Editor George Rasley, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Representative Bob McEwen and Tea Party Patriots Action Honorary Chairman Jenny Beth Martin are in favor of Congress passing the MERIT Act during the lame duck session.
The group, led by Americans for Limited Government, issued the following statement urging the GOP not to Drain the swampwaste their final weeks in the majority:
“The December spending bill is the last chance for the 115th Congress to do something to limit the size and scope of government. After disappointing decisions to significantly increase government spending levels over the past two years, it is imperative that Congress pass language which expedites the prompt and appropriate firing of federal employees who are either incompetent or don’t perform their assigned duties. Continue reading
by Seton Motley • RedState
I am opposed to any and all government money going towards picking private sector winners and losers.
In no small part because government doesn’t pick winners and losers – it picks losers at the expense of winners.
Government takes money from winners – people who have good ideas, implement them well, make money…and pay taxes.
And gives it to losers – people with bad ideas, implement them badly…and lose money. They need the government money – because they don’t generate any of their own.
A good idea – doesn’t need government money. No one needs to subsidize ice cream.
The King of All Government Money Recipients – is Elon Musk. Continue reading
by Brent Scher • Washington Free Beacon
Hillary Clinton’s private passage to India is costing American taxpayers at least $22,000, according to publicly disclosed federal contract information.
Clinton attracted media attention during her trip for saying during a speech last weekend that she lost the 2016 election because much of the United States is “backwards” and filled with people who don’t like “black people getting rights” or “women getting jobs.” Clinton is promoting her latest book in India and is joined on the trip by friends such as longtime aide Huma Abedin. She is also spending time visiting tourist sites.
Clinton is in India as a private citizen. But as a former First Lady she is given U.S. Secret Service protection for life, and the State Department awarded two contracts worth $16,143 and $6,301 for her security detail’s travel and lodging on the trip. Continue reading
By Tammy Bruce • Fox News
A new audit about a Pentagon agency losing hundreds of millions of dollars is reported by Politico as an “exclusive.” While that’s technically correct, a government agency losing or wasting or misplacing millions, billions and even trillions of dollars (this is not hyperbole, folks) is nothing new.
Politico’s report is a reminder of what bloated, unaccountable government gets you.
“Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment,” Politico reported. “Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.”
The report describes the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) as the “Walmart” of the military, an entity with 25,000 employees who provide “everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, precious metals and aircraft parts.”
By Beau Rothschild • The Federalist
In the nineteenth century, Americans across the country were mesmerized by “miracle elixirs,” better known as medicine shows, which offered “cure-alls” for everything in the book. Diseases? There was a drink for that. Wrinkles? There was a magic cream for that too. These traveling shows did far more than “heal,” they entertained. Freak shows, magic tricks, and storytelling, among other fun activities, were included on the lists of offerings.
For many, these flamboyant events were awe-inspiring – that is, until the country realized these “miracle cures” were almost completely ineffective. Over time, an increasing number of Americans began referring to these big promisers as “snake oil salesmen.” By the next century, most disappeared, as did their outrageous claims.
Worrisome national security events that transpired this week have convinced some Americans that SpaceX, a rocket manufacturer and launcher for national security missions, is the magic elixir of this generation — only this time, the “magic pills” in question are not only often ineffective, they’re also affecting the country’s national security.
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
The Trump administration announced Thursday it will allow states to impose work requirements on abled-bodied adults to qualify for Medicaid. This marks the first time the federal government has allowed any kind of work requirement for Medicaid eligibility—and it’s about time.
On the surface, work requirements for Medicaid might seem cruel or punitive. After all, Medicaid is supposed to provide health coverage to the poor and disabled, the most vulnerable among us. As a policy proposal, work requirements may seem almost tailor-made to make Republicans look cold and heartless.
But the reality is that Medicaid, like most federal and state welfare programs, has gotten so out of control and strayed so far from its original purpose that imposing work requirements on able-bodied adults will actually help enrollees far more than Medicaid coverage will, mostly by giving them a strong incentive to secure full employment. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $700,000 for parking spots that no one used during the final two years of the Obama administration.
The office of inspector general released an audit Wednesday finding the agency wasted taxpayer dollars on subsidized parking for employees at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
“Only EPA headquarters (based in Washington, D.C.) and Region 4 (based in Atlanta, Georgia) subsidized employee parking,” the inspector general said. “These offices paid over $840,000 to subsidize employee parking from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2016.” Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
Immigrations and Custom Enforcement cannot account for all visa overstays due to inefficiencies in the agency, according to a new report.
ICE arrested just 0.4 percent of visa overstays it could account for, according to an audit by the inspector general.
The agency has 27 different databases used to investigate and track immigrants who remain in the country past the deadline issued on their temporary visas. The lack of a cohesive system has “produced numerous inefficiencies,” making ICE ineffective at catching visa overstays who may pose security risks, according to the audit.
“Department of Homeland Security IT systems did not effectively support ICE visa tracking operations,” the inspector general said. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Environmental Protection Agency has been riddled with employee misconduct, including workers who drink, smoke marijuana, and watch porn on the job.
Inspector general reports over the past few years detailing employee misbehavior could serve as ammunition for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is seeking to eliminate 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the agency.
Only 6.5 percent of EPA employees are “essential,” according to the government’s own calculations when it faced a shutdown in 2013. At the time, just 1,069 employees were deemed necessary to continue working during the 16 days the government closed. Continue reading