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Congress funds pubic hair research, fails to deal with Zika virus

(Jeff Miller/UW-Madison via AP)

(Jeff Miller/UW-Madison via AP)

The bureaucratic inefficiency of the federal government rarely fails to go beyond the imaginable.

Despite passionate arguments from the White House, Democrats blocked a Republican bill for emergency funding of Zika virus research due to spending cuts that would keep the bill revenue-neutral.

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health had no trouble finding the money for research on the grooming habits of women with their pubic hair, according to The Daily Caller.

“It’s uncertain how much money NIH gave the study, since agencies can conceal how grants are spent,” Ethan Barton wrote.

The study, conducted by the University of California, found that “pubic hair grooming practices pose some potential risks of injury to women, most often related to shaving.”

For dubious academic studies and other forms of waste, funding can be routine. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ari.) has chronicled millions of dollars in questionable appropriations in his Wastebook releases.

“Taxpayer funded science projects even sounded like they were concocted at a frat house rather than a government research agency,” he wrote.

For legitimate public health threats, however, Congress moves slower.

“They took the Zika funding hostage,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday. “This is what they do.”

In the proposed Zika funding bill, Democrats and Republicans added provisions for pet projects rather than an up-or-down vote on roughly $1 billion in emergency funding for research and prevention of the disease.

As Congress prepares to take its annual recess for seven weeks, both sides failed to address a looming public health crisis. For the superfluous and non-sensical, funding will flow. When faced with a problem of possibly national importance, however, both sides dither, to the detriment of the Americans who are supposed to be represented by their Congressmembers.

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