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Coburn Releases Annual “Wastebook” of Federal Spending

October 24, 2014—Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) Oct. 22 issued his “Wastebook 2014” detailing what he describes as "100 silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects ... exposing Washington's upside down priorities that tally up to $25 billion."

In the introduction, Senator Coburn writes that this latest report, the fifth in an annual series, "gives a snapshot of just a fraction of the countless frivolous projects the government funded in the past 12 months with borrowed money and your tax dollars."

The report cites four projects funded by NIH.  As in past reports, the Wastebook sensationalizes one aspect of the study without providing any context or public health implications.  For example, the report criticizes NIH for spending $387,000 to study “Swedish massage in rabbits.” The senator’s office also released a YouTube video about the study. 

Actually, this is a study of massage therapy in eccentric exercise induced muscle weakness and inflammation aimed at understanding the mechanisms of action of massage therapy to develop innovative strategies to maximize their clinical effectiveness. The grant application notes that Americans make more than 160 million visits a year to seek relief of musculoskeletal weakness and pain by manipulative or body-based practices.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806