While Congress is working overtime to spend billions of dollars to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, federal agencies are on a freewheeling spending spree to burn through all of their money before the fiscal year ends Monday night.
The Washington Post reports
that the Veterans Affairs Department spent more than a half million dollars for artwork, the Coast Guard spent nearly $200,000 on "cubicle furniture rehab," and the Agriculture Department spent $140,000 on toner cartridges in just one day.
The spending spree was prompted by fears that if an agency ends the fiscal year with money left in the bank, Congress might cut their funding in future years.
The outrageous expenses are not unusual, and are the subject of an ongoing congressional investigation.
In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service spent millions of dollars left over in an account to hire new personnel on an extravagant Las Vegas conference where the controversial "Star Trek" parody video featuring federal employees premiered.
Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, says the out-of-control spending by bureaucrats should be a key focal point of the ongoing debate to fund the government.
Fox News reported
that federal agencies last week spent money on junkets for Chinese wine connoisseurs, Christmas tree initiatives, radio ads promoting New Jersey blueberries, a maple syrup recipe contest and produced a YouTube video to instruct on the proper handling of watermelons.
"Lost in the back and forth this week regarding whether or not to shut down the government over Obamacare was a real debate about all the other things that this bill will fund," Coburn said in a statement
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