Sen. Paul Says Federal Officials Wasted $4.7 Million Studying Link Between Booze, ER Visits

November 25, 2019 Updated: November 27, 2019

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Nov. 25 issued a special fall edition of his annual report on waste and fraud by the federal government, including a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for studying the connection between drinking alcohol and going to the emergency room.

The Kentucky Republican is chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“So, what findings has the research helped produce? In the abstract for a 2019 paper, researchers assert that ‘countries with high DDP [detrimental drinking pattern] are at higher risk of injury from most causes at a given level of consumption,” Paul’s “Waste Report” stated about the NIH’s project.

By contrast, the project also found that “countries with low restrictiveness of alcohol policy are at higher risk of injury at lower levels of consumption and at higher risk of traffic injuries at high levels of consumption,” the report stated.

“Who would have thought that, when it’s easier to get your hands on alcohol, the injury risk can increase, especially when it comes to vehicle-related injuries?”

In another example of waste by NIH, the report pointed to more than $708,000 spent by the agency on “a nearly five-year project that involves actively addicting its subjects, Zebrafish, to nicotine. The project [is] being conducted at the Queen Mary University of London.”

The project is designed to study links between genetics and addiction and “everybody agrees that nicotine addiction is a problem,” the report stated.

“But you have to be smoking something other than nicotine if you think the solution is to ship American tax dollars abroad to addict Zebrafish to nicotine.”

A third example from the Paul report was the $22 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) to train “the staff at the Regional Center for Agricultural Development (RCAD) in Sjenica, Serbia, to follow the cheese standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and help producers adopt best practices.”

The report questioned the AID grant because “the U.S. has been experiencing a massive, historic cheese surplus, one that would eventually hit 1.4 billion pounds … So American dairy farmers dealing with the realities of this situation might be cheesed off to learn their government worked to strengthen competition and the European cheese market — using their own tax dollars to boot!”

Other examples of federal waste highlighted by Paul included:

A $153 million grant to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA), despite chronic service interruptions, safety issues, and crime worries that reduced ridership to the lowest level in 20 years.

The report said “clearly, WMATA is a poor steward of public funds, be they federal, state, or local. Why Americans from across the country are being forced to subsidize the Washington, D.C., public transit system’s ineptitude is beyond comprehension.

“The federal government simply cannot afford to flush $153 million down the toilet this coming year, particularly on an agency seemingly hell-bent on wasting Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.”

Investing up to $16 million to improve the quality of Egyptian schooling.

According to the report, the state of the U.S. education system is such that there are also not-so-great memories and experiences. Knowing the problems that exist here at home, it may surprise Americans to learn that their government is investing up to $16 million to improve the quality of the Egyptian educational system.

Using $300,000 to fund debate and Model United Nations competitions in Afghanistan.

Spending $84,375 to purchase a statue from Bob Dylan for the U.S. embassy in Mozambique.

Using $33,921 to purchase outdated, unsold textbooks for Afghan students.

When the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) examined five warehouses where the textbooks were stored, according to Paul’s report, it found “a sad state of affairs. It reported that ‘five storage facilities held about 154,000 textbooks.’ One might think it’s good to have that many books in storage, ready to be delivered.

“However, SIGAR said that ‘managers at four out of the five facilities stated that they had no plan to distribute the books in the near future.’ It ‘also observed that some of the facilities were not in good condition,” including one that ‘was not equipped with a ventilation system to preserve the books.’”

Paul began publishing the Waste Report series in 2016.

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