McConnell lashes out at ‘robo-squirrel’ on Senate floor

By David Edwards
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:39 EDT
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Mitch McConnell speaks on Senate floor
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As lawmakers negotiate to cut $4 trillion from the deficit, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to blast Democrats for spending $325,000 educating students with a “robo-squirrel” project.

“Do Democrats even believe their own rhetoric on spending,” McConnell asked. “Do they just want more tax revenue to fund a government without any limits — any limits whatsoever?”

McConnell noted that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) had recently published his annual “Wastebook,” which takes aims at programs like a $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that funds education using a robotic squirrel to give students new insights into biology.

“Get this, taxpayers also just spent $325,000 on a robotic squirrel named robo-squirrel,” the Kentucky Republican complained. “The president just sent us a 73-page report detailing how $60 billion in [Hurricane] Sandy funds would be spent.”

“Don’t you think he could put together spending cuts that at least — at least — includes robo-squirrel?” McConnell opined. “We’re still waiting. Why? Because for Democrats, apparently, every dollar in federal spending is sacred.”

San Diego State University spokesperson Greg Block recently told News10 that the actual cost of robo-squirrel was only a few hundred dollars and the rest of the grant went to supporting students.

“A small part of the money was spent on building the squirrel, the rest was spent on the students,” Block said. “This is how National Science Foundation grants work.”

Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Dec. 11, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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