Sen. James Lankford unveils his latest edition of government waste watch: ‘Federal Fumbles’

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma on Monday released his latest report detailing what he sees as the worst examples of wasteful spending by the federal government, unveiling Volume 6 of his “Federal Fumbles” report as the national debt sits at a record $30 trillion.

“Federal Fumbles is a to-do list for me and my team, and it’s also a status update for Oklahomans who are concerned about waste, fraud, and abuse of their tax dollars and what is being done to stop it,” said Lankford, whose most recent edition of his football-themed publication points to more than $10 trillion in examples of wasteful or duplicative spending.

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 22: Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks during the Senate Republicans press conference on the debt limit in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.  (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Lankford highlighted the top ten examples of government spending he found most egregious, beginning with what he called President Biden’s “border boondoggle.”

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“President Biden was so determined to leave the border open, he spent (read: wasted) well over $2 billion to not build fencing,” the report reads. “Career professionals at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had studied and recommended the wall system on our border, but Biden paid Department of Defense (DOD) contractors millions a day not to build the wall but to babysit the fence materials on the ground ready to be installed. Then after a year of public pressure, Biden agreed to ‘close the gaps’ in the border fence.”

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure spending at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)

The report goes on to note that DHS now plans to deploy “robot dogs” that cost anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000 a piece to assist in patrolling America’s border with Mexico.

Lankford also decried the National Institutes of Health’s decision to award millions in funds to Peking University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control & Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the National Endowment of the Humanities’ move to give $120,000 to two authors who write books on Russian art.

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Other wasteful spending examples included $15,000 in taxpayer dollars toward funding an opera about monkeys, $500,000 to revamp a New Hampshire ski club, $3 million for a fisherman’s co-op in Guam, and the Biden administration’s infamous $30 million grant program offering “safe smoking” kits that would help reduce the risks of smoking illicit substances such as crack cocaine or crystal methamphetamine.

Sen James Lankford

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing May 13, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images / Getty Images)

When Lankford first launched his “Fumbles” report in 2015, the U.S. national debt stood at roughly $18 trillion. Six years later, that number has nearly doubled.

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In addition to identifying wasteful spending, his report offers ways the federal government can return to fiscal responsibility.

“We need solutions to the issues we face, so Fumbles also focuses on recommendations for how to actually make the tough decisions, not just talk about them,” Lankford says.