There is a line item in the budget that costs nearly a half million dollars. Republicans oppose it. Democrats oppose it. President Obama wants to kill it. The House Republican leadership wants to kill it. And yet, this program has gone on for twenty years and NO ONE CAN END IT.
David A. Fahrenthold in the Washington Post:
It took up just three lines in Congress’s last big appropriations bill, on Page 123 out of 487. But it is a legend, a wonk’s campfire story — the government spending nobody could kill.
“For payment to the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation . . . $450,000, to remain available until expended.”
This is a great survivor in the vast ecosystem of federal funding: a 20-year-old program that gives cash prizes for work in science. President Obama has called it inefficient and redundant. He and House Republicans — who agree on almost nothing — have tried to eliminate it.
Each time, however, it has been saved by a powerful friend in the Senate, Thad Cochran, the senior senator from Mississippi.
Now, Washington is enmeshed in another battle over spending. But the Columbus foundation shows how both parties are struggling to turn their hard-nosed rhetoric about austerity into action. After all, it would be hard to imagine a less painful cut than this one: a program with two full-time employees and bipartisan enemies.And yet, it lives.
See why this is and learn how our messed-up system works by reading the whole article: Columbus Fellowship Foundation lives on, illustrating budget struggles in Washington – The Washington Post.