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Those Federal Yoga Classes Add Up, Waste Report Shows

The keeper of the congressional Wastebook marked Festivus today with an Airing of Grievances about government waste to the tune of more than $1 billion.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight, took over the pork-tracking reins from retired Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Among the grievances aired by Paul in a new 38-page waste report:

  • $250,000 to send two dozen kids from Pakistan on a trip to Space Camp and Dollywood “to promote the development of English language, social, and analytical skills of the participants, through first-hand experiences in science and technology.”
  • $104 million on subsidized housing for people who no longer have low incomes that would have been necessary to enter the program.
  • More than $150,000 since 2013 to provide free yoga classes to federal employees.
  • $400,000 to reduce and streamline the regulatory burdens on businesses in Armenia. “Maybe instead of funding this project, the U.S. government should be applying for its help,” the report wryly notes.
  • A $240-per-hour contract course at the Department of Education to teach 20 federal workers how to write emails.
  • Medicare overpayments for sleep studies by as much as $175 million a year.
  • $6 million to improve tourism in Albania.
  • A National Institutes for Health study ringing in at $380 million to study how to beat the Freshman 15 — those pesky pounds that come with the first year of college, staying up all night, beer pong and 3 a.m. Taco Bell.
  • $40,000 to make sure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fairweather research ships gets all the premium sports channels on satellite TV.
  • More than $50 million in disaster-relief coverage already covered by insurance.

Paul promised that his airing of grievances will be followed by the Festivus Feats of Strength — to be determined.