Making Government Work for East Tennesseeans

For far too long, government waste and inefficiency has created oceans of red ink. Whether it’s partisanship in Congress, a huge overhaul of our health care system that’s not working or runaway spending, Americans have rightfully lost faith in their government. When traveling around the First District, I hear from many East Tennesseans who are concerned about the future of our country. Many are struggling to make ends meet, and most tell me how the federal government hurts—not helps—their families.

Each year Senator Tom Coburn releases a report on government waste. Senator Coburn is retiring this year, so he released his final Wastebook on October 22. This document lists 100 projects that he has identified as questionable uses of taxpayer dollars. Senator Coburn’s report identifies nearly $25 billion in savings—which could be a useful first step toward lowering our $17 trillion debt. These projects include:  

  • $387,000 for Swedish massages for rabbits.
  •  $856,000 for training mountain lions to run on a treadmill.
  • $307,524 in financial support from three government agencies to teach Sea Monkeys to synchronized swim.
  • $392,000 for NASA to develop a report on how humans would react to meeting space aliens.
  • $5 million to renovate a 27-hole golf course.
  • $1.97 million grant from the National Science Foundation rewarded to help create a new communication network for fossil enthusiasts and professionals.
  • $3 billion in improper SNAP (food stamp) payments.
  • $500,000 for a U.S. Department of Agriculture funded butterfly farm.

There is no question tax dollars shouldn’t go toward massages for rabbits and training mountain lions to run on a treadmill. With expenditures like these, it’s no wonder taxpayers are fed up with government spending. Similarly, with scandals like Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative organizations and the VA having secret waitlists, Americans’ faith in government has reached an all-time low.

Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a promising memo to House Republicans describing his vision for making the federal government more accountable. I was pleased to see Leader McCarthy is dedicated to making government functional again by doing things like eliminating bureaucracy and burdensome regulations, holding government agencies accountable, keeping our promises to the American people and promoting a growing and stable economy.

Since coming to Congress in 2009, I have been dedicated to making government work for East Tennesseans. I strongly believe getting the federal government out of people’s lives is the best thing we can do as legislators. Our bloated government spends and taxes too much, and the American people have had enough. There is no question in my mind that government intervention has slowed economic recovery, and it’s time we get out of the way of the private sector and let the market work. It’s time we hold rogue agencies accountable and balance our budget to live within our means just like families are expected to do. Please rest assured I remain committed to working on a small government, pro-growth, job-creating agenda as long as I have the honor of representing the First Congressional District.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website,

Source: Communication from U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M. D., 1st District of Tennessee

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014