Meanwhile, in Congress…

There are a lot of things in our country right now that need fixing. Our bridges are collapsing, our schools can’t keep their lights on, rural communities are still running dialup Internet and factory employees are being forced to wear diapers to work because their employers won’t let them take bathroom breaks.

And yet, through all of that, Republican Congressman Matt Salmon has zeroed in on the root of our problems: It is too easy for EPA workers to stretch.

Last week, Salmon introduced H.R. 5242, “To prohibit Executive agencies from using funds for yoga classes or instruction, and for other purposes.” This totally real bill is designed to curtail what has apparently been profligate spending on the part of the federal government on behalf of its already-overpaid employees — all at the taxpayers’ expense. As the Washington Examiner reported:

Salmon’s bill is a reaction to a report that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., released last year. His “waste report” noted that the Departments of State, Energy and Agriculture, as well as the EPA, all provide yoga classes to their workers.

Paul’s report said the State Department spends $15,000 a year on yoga classes in Washington, D.C., while the Department of Energy spent $11,000 a year for pilates classes in California.

Hold the god damn phone, folks. Fifteen thousand dollars for yoga classes at the State Department? That’s a whopping three one hundred thousandths of one percent of the State Department’s $46.2 billion budget request for 2015. It’s less than half of one entry-level employee’s salary — for an agency with over a thousand employees in Washington, D.C. alone.

But sure, $15k here, $15k there, sooner or later we’ve gotten rid of the national debt, right? El oh el.

Singling out one physical activity for the federal government to defund seems especially inane given that, in all likelihood, these yoga and pilates classes are covered under federal employees’ regular gym memberships. It’s not like the head of the EPA is spending gobs of money bringing a personal yoga instructor into their office. Gym memberships are a regular benefit offered by employers around the country, and gyms offer yoga and pilates classes. And some gym members take those classes.

Congressman Matt Salmon (R - Arizona), via Wikimedia Commons

Congressman Matt Salmon (R – Arizona), via Wikimedia Commons

But according to Salmon, that may in fact be the problem: The government is acting too much like an employer in the private sector. As he explained to the Examiner, “The government isn’t Google, so stop trying to be.” This, of course, would be a bit of a break from the Matt Salmon’s previous and familiar exhortations for the government to be run — How does the phrase we’re so fond of hearing go? — like a business. As he explained in 2013, “It is critical that the U.S. government treat its budget like any normal family or business would. Congress should be allocating our resources based on needs and benefits, rather than history.”

I guess he only meant the part about cutting departments, slashing wages and outsourcing labor.

Normal families and businesses invest in things like gym memberships — even yoga classes! — because they calculate that the benefits outweigh the costs. This is especially true of for-profit businesses, who wouldn’t bother subsidizing employees’ gym memberships if it didn’t result in employees being more productive at work and taking less time off for health-related issues. They more than make back the money they spend on gym memberships in the form of productive hours worked. As long as you think the EPA should be doing a good job, which Congressman Salmon doesn’t, then a couple thousand dollars a year for yoga seems perfectly justified — dare I say smart.

Salmon’s “Screw Yoga in Particular” Act is part of a broader “Shrink Our Spending” initiative targeting pockets of probably-useful spending that Salmon has deemed personally objectionable. Last month, he introduced a bill “to ban federal funding for studies on why people get stressed out when they talk about politics.” There is one such study currently being funded by the federal government. Congressman Salmon introduced an entire bill to block one study in particular — a study that received a grand total of $149,975 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation and actually sounds like a pretty worthwhile investment.

That being said, I guess I could save those researchers some time. I get stressed out when I talk about politics because people like Matt Salmon are making decisions about how the federal government spends its money.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

Share This Post

  • Shirleygamezquita

    “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet $98/hr”…..!te160urtwo days ago grey MacLaren. P1 I bought after earning 18,512 Dollars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k Dollars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over hourly. 87 Dollars…Learn. More right Here !te160u:➽:➽:.➽.➽.➽.➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsPhoenixGetPay-Hour$98…. .★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★::::::!te160u….,..

  • Bill why are you ducking me on the overtime rule?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not a political comment.

  • An entirely accurate statement upon someone else’s political views.

    And If I remember last time you whining about how I wasn’t to reply directly to you oh, hypocrite.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not a political comment.

  • Crystalsdupree

    “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet $98/hr”…..!ti574urtwo days ago grey MacLaren. P1 I bought after earning 18,512 Dollars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k Dollars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over hourly. 87 Dollars…Learn. More right Here !ti574u:➽:➽:.➽.➽.➽.➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsSparkGetPay-Hour$98…. .★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★::::::!ti574u….,…

  • “Wages are low and millions work one or more part time jobs.”

    Absolutely true. So what do you think about the Obama administration’s new rule re: overtime pay?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Wages are low and millions work one or more part time jobs. Assaults on unions continue.
    Except for areas where socialists have compelled change, the minimum wage is the terrible. The policies that create these conditions are the policies of the DP and the RP. Voting for either is voting for underemployment, union bustinhg and low wages. The parties are the same.

  • Ol’ Hippy

    With the biggest defense budget ever, over 600 billion$, the house worries about 15 grand for some exercise in a few districts. There’s something very wrong here and it’s not yoga. It’s the entire government and it’s not working anymore, especially for average citizens which seem to be forgotten in a mad dash to raise funds to get elected to NOT do their jobs. Go to hell congress!!

  • gratuitous

    Will Rep. Salmon be shutting down Congress’ gyms? Those sacred cows even stayed open when Republicans shut down the “non-essential” services of government.

  • Waste of time he only sings one note.

  • Badgerite

    Here is the thing, Bill, I am a working person and for me the economy has certainly recovered from where it was in 2008. You can actually apply for a job now as there are actually companies and people hiring. Money that could have gone to infrastructure went instead to keeping the banks from a complete meltdown. And then the GOP came to town and Flint happened,etc. And if you actually look at the states controlled by the GOP, their budgets are all about gutting education and other state services in order to provide non job stimulating tax cuts. Paul Ryan is all about cutting spending and everything but mostly on any investment in the country’s infrastructure or it’s people. So, please cut with the crap about both parties being the same.

  • Don Chandler

    First google search:

    Just 14 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup survey released Wednesday, and they do not seem all that enamored with Republican leaders in the House and Senate, either.Aug 12, 2015

    I mean, they are really into bathroom politics when they don’t need to be in the bathroom at all. They seem to love protecting people’s … religous liberties when people haven’t lost any religious liberties. The republicans love to play scientist but they don’t listen to scientists on global warming. Why do people pay these assholes.

  • No thoughts on the new overtime rule?

  • Bill_Perdue

    The economy, from the point of view of working people, not the rich, has never recovered. Neither party has any plans to change that. Funds that could be spent on infrastructure are instead being spent murdering Arab and muslim citizens and both parties support that. Both parties agree on not enacting ENDA and both agree on deporting immigrant workers.

    Democrats and Republicans are equally the enemies of working people, immigrant workers, equality and world peace.

  • Badgerite

    Of Congress (see power of the purse)? The GOP, mostly. Damn is right.

  • Government’s been rather divided for the last six, but okay.

    Also, interested to see how you spin this into reactionary conservatism: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/

  • Bill_Perdue

    “Our bridges are collapsing, our schools can’t keep their lights on, rural communities are still running dialup Internet and factory employees are being forced to wear diapers to work because their employers won’t let them take bathroom breaks.”

    Damn. Who’s been in charge the last 8 years?

  • It’s worth remembering these are the same conservative Mammon-worshiping asses who think that overtime pay laws — with a threshold which was never indexed to inflation, and thus now includes “assistant managers” at Walmart — are themselves an extravagance the so-called Greatest Country on the Earth cannot afford.

  • Blogvader

    And a loud, exuberant ‘Thank you!’ to everyone who votes the lesser of two evils.

  • MoonDragon

    The hearings on this bill will cost the taxpayers more than the damned classes.

  • Quilla

    palm-slap-to-forehead

  • The best reaction to this that I wanted to put in the post but it didn’t quite fit so I’ll just leave it here, from Twitter: “Anyone with an 89% Liberty Score for sure thinks that yoga makes people transgender and atheist.”

  • UncleBucky

    I can see Theocracy Coming from the front porch of our house…

© 2017 AMERICAblog News. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS
CLOSE
CLOSE