Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn says although he is a fan of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and it does great work the $3 billion in waste he uncovered shows that “even our best agencies have room to cut spending.” Coburn also said on Fox News Thursday that the NSF needs to get its priorities straight.
A report from Coburn details how the NSF — among other things — spent $500,000 in taxpayer money to research exercising shrimp and another $1.5 million to build a robot that can fold laundry.
“Well, Neil, this is one my favorite agencies. They really do — the vast majority of their work is great,” Coburn told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto. “I put this report out because here is a $6 billion-plus-a-year agency that we know we can save $800 million or $900 million — maybe $1.2 billion a year — if they would just do a great job of screening out junk and waste and making sure they are running the agency like Americans would want them to run it.
“I am a cancer survivor — a lot of what they have funded and done has helped me immensely,” Coburn said. “But the point I was wanting to make is, even our best agencies have room to cut spending.”
Coburn said the NSF must get its priorities straight considering the nation’s fiscal crisis.
“When we are studying on how — dating on Facebook and we are studying about whether or not people are making racial choices in their dating, we are not doing what we need to be doing that will give us the biggest bang for our buck,” he said. “And so my criticism is — I love this agency, I think they are great — but I think they can do a whole lot better, and they need to, and all the American people have to do is look at some of the grants that got past them and know.
“And the other thing is, is they had $1.5 billion sitting in grant money that should have come back to the federal government that they didn’t ask for,” Coburn said.
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