ES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, in recognition of Sunshine Week, will introduce a new bill on Tuesday to “shine more light on Washington’s spending decisions.”
The Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act will require projects funded with taxpayer money to display the costs associated with the project.
Under the legislation, projects would be regularly reviewed, and taxpayers would be given a process to report federal agencies who are not transparent about how their funding is spent.
In addition to the legislation, Ernst awarded the Biden Administration her “Squeal Award” in March for keeping taxpayers “in the dark” about how taxpayer money is spent.
She cited several examples of government waste, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture providing a grant for a study at Purdue University on pig behavior, where researchers taught the swine to play video games.
Another example Ernst provided was the National Science Foundation providing a grant of $447,592.00 to Rockafeller University and $352,403.00 to the City University of New York for a research project that included developing a 4-by-8 foot underwater touchpad with “dolphin-friendly apps” to investigate dolphin intelligence and communication.
The funding was initially awarded during the Trump administration and has continued during the Biden administration
Ernst highlighted funding for the National Comedy Center, including a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for four interpretative kiosks dedicated to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. In addition to the NEH grant, the museum in Jamestown, N.Y., has received $7 million in federal assistance, including $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and $5 million in net benefit from New Markets Tax Credits. Funding that U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., helped secure in 2019.
Ernst also pointed out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, General Services Administration, and the Small Business Administration spent over $4 million supporting the set-up of insect farms and the production of bug-based foods for human consumption and children’s nutrition.
“Unexplainable expenditures like these really bug taxpayers, yet they keep popping up because no one really knows where the trillions of dollars being doled out every year by Washington are actually going. And that is entirely intentional,” Ernst said.
“Biden’s budgeting is a lot like Whack-a-Mole. He keeps digging the country deeper in the hole while doing everything he can—including ignoring the law—to hide Washington’s waste so it doesn’t get whacked.”
Ernst pointed out that a law passed in 2011 requiring taxpayers to have a list of every single government program with the cost of each has still not been completed.
Also, another law mandating that projects paid for with tax dollars include a public price tag disclosing the cost also is not being enforced.
Also, Ernst authored a law requiring every infrastructure project behind schedule, or $1 billion over budget, to be publicly disclosed and she says it is behind schedule and still not completed.
“How can we eliminate what we can’t even see?” she asked.