As our readers know, on Monday night Congressional appropriators released the draft of the fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill. The House is expected to pass the bill today and the Senate Friday. Here is the one thing you need to know about the legislation: it shows there are still places where spending can be cut. (Sorry, Nancy Pelosi.) Will lawmakers find them? Probably not since, as The Associated Press reported, they’re unlikely to read the bill. In today’s “5 Things” we read the bill for them and give them “5 Things” (with the referenced page numbers!) to cut:
- $90,000 For Vice President Biden’s Entertainment Expenses. On page 479, readers find this gem: “For the care, operation, refurnishing, improvement, and to the extent not otherwise provided for, heating and lighting, including electric power and fixtures, of the official residence of the Vice President; the hire of passenger motor vehicles; and not to exceed $90,000 for official entertainment expenses of the Vice President, to be accounted for solely on his certificate.”
- $36,000 For Receptions For Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco And Firearms (BTF). Page 125 allots $36,000 to the BTF “for official reception and representation expenses.”
- $2.5 Million For Education About An Issue Puerto Rico Already Voted On. Page 137 says Puerto Rico gets $2.5 million “for objective, nonpartisan voter education about, and a plebiscite on, options that would resolve Puerto Rico’s future political status, which shall be provided to the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico.” The funding will educate voters on a future vote to become a state. Puerto Rico held that vote in 2012.
- $149 Million For Flights With Few Passengers. On page 1415 there is $149 million, an increase of $3 million from last year, for the Essential Air Service program, which pays commercial airline carriers to make flights into areas with little demand for regular flights.
- $80 Million For Infinity And Beyond. Finally, on page 159 there is $80 million “for pre-formulation and/or formulation activities for a mission that meets the science goals outlined for the Jupiter Europa mission in the most recent planetary science decadal survey.” The Europa mission isn’t even planned until 2020.
To learn about more programs Congress should considering cutting as part of omnibus negotiations, check out our database of questionable spending, spendopedia.org.