Rep. Buchanan bashes Brazilian boondoggle

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R- FL District 16) in an email to constituents wrote, “As the national debt approaches $17 trillion, you would expect federal bureaucrats to think twice before wasting taxpayer dollars. You would be wrong. The latest example is a $1.5 million grant, paid by the American taxpayer, to study the smoking habits of women in the rural Brazilian state Parana.”

“This comes on the heels of a $140,000 study of pig manure in Thailand, a $400,000 expenditure to promote clean air in Indonesia and a $27 million grant to teach Moroccans how to make pottery – something Moroccans have been doing successfully since at least the 5th century B.C.,” notes Buchanan.

Buchanan states, “With 22 million Americans out of work or underemployed, Washington continues to spend money irresponsibly on projects of no value to the American people. If our nation is ever to dig out from the debt hole it has created through fiscal mismanagement, Washington must end its addiction to reckless spending.”

Buchanan sent the below letter to the Director of the National Institutes of Health:

August 16, 2013

Francis Collins
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Dear Director Collins:

It has come to my attention that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to study the smoking habits of Brazilian women. According to the NIH website, the project seeks to gain a better “understanding of women and their tobacco-related issues, as well as the need for the development of gender-relevant tobacco control efforts”.

In an email Rep. Vern Buchanan states, “At a time when millions of American families are struggling to put food on the table, it is outrageous that their hard-earned money should be spent on tobacco studies in Brazil. Please explain to me how the NIH can justify this expenditure as our national debt approaches $17 trillion?”

The World Health Organization reported that the Brazilian government raises $2.2 billion annually from taxes collected on tobacco products. Yet instead of investing its own resources, Brazil gets the American taxpayer to foot the bill for a study to reduce smoking in that nation.

“No wonder the American people are frustrated with Washington. As our nation’s economy continues to struggle, we should be doing all we can to help create jobs here at home while also eliminating government waste. It’s time to put America first.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.


Vern Buchanan
Member of Congress

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