The federal government sent more than $1.3 billion in American tax dollars to China and Russia over the past five years, according to a new report from the fiscal transparency group Open the Books out Wednesday.
More than $490 million in U.S. contracts and grant money went to researchers in China while another $870 million ended up in Russia. The use of millions of American tax dollars to fund dubious foreign research earned the Treasury Department the monthly “Squeal Award” presented by Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst to highlight wasteful spending.
According to the report from Open the Books, $2 million from the federal government went to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology to conduct experiments on bat coronaviruses and “transgenic mice.” Another $770,466 went to a Russian lab to study cats on treadmills.
“Washington’s continued spending is so out of hand, it is losing track of hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” said Sen. Ernst in a press release.
The billion-dollar spending spree led the Iowa lawmaker to introduce the Tracking Receipts to Adversarial Countries for Knowledge of Spending (TRACKS) Act with Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher.
“It is gravely concerning that no one in Washington can actually account for millions sent to Russia and China for pointless projects,” Ernst said, “but I have the receipts.”
The outrage over excessive spending came the same day lawmakers in the lower chamber passed a bipartisan deal to lift the debt ceiling by as much as $4 trillion over the next two years. Gallagher voted for the deal on Wednesday. Ernst said last week that “substantial” cuts would be required before she could promise her support.
“We know that we can’t default as a nation, but it does need to be significant,” Ernst said. “There is a lot of spending, we’ve seen trillions of dollars flowing out from the federal government under Democratic rule, one-sided Democratic rule, for the past number of years. We can’t continue to do this. It’s unsustainable.”
Other items found in Wednesday’s report from Open the Books include $96,875 for “gender equality” with an exhibit of cartoons from the New Yorker and $2.4 million for Russian addiction research.