Government Spending on Shark Bait, Motherhood Books Survives Shutdown

Essential spending on pool maintenance, uniforms


Though the federal government remains closed for a second day, spending across multiple agencies has continued, including funding for shark bait and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” books.

Most “nonessential” programs and services have been suspended since the House and Senate failed to agree on continuing resolution to fund the government on Monday. The government officially shut down at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, when the fiscal year ended.

The Antideficiency Act orders government agencies to cease operations in the event of a shutdown, except in certain emergency situations or when law authorizes continued activity, according to the Congressional Research Service.

However, spending that is “authorized by law” carries a broad category of exemptions. One such exemption is contract authority, and many contracts have been issued during the shutdown.

For example, the Department of Commerce posted an award for $21,600 worth of shark bait for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Oct. 1.

Nine thousand pounds of “spiny dogfish” was ordered in preparation for a Large Coastal Shark Survey in the spring 2014.

On Oct. 2, the Army placed an $11,835 order for books in the “What to Expect” series by Heidi Murkoff, to be used at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Five hundred copies each of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “What to Expect the First Year,” and “What to Expect the Second Year” were purchased.

The Department of Labor spent $26,451 on uniforms for a youth job center in Missouri on the first day of the shut down. The “coffee bean” colored uniform polo shirts, and Dickies tan pants are for the St. Louis Job Corps Center, which gives academic training to disadvantaged youth aged 16 to 24.

Swimming pool maintenance at the United States Air Force Academy was authorized during the shutdown, at a cost of $108,000.

The Air Force also spent $41,193.48 for DirectTV on Oct. 1 for the March Air Reserve Base in California.


Elizabeth Harrington   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Elizabeth Harrington is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Elizabeth graduated from Temple University in 2010. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she worked as a staff writer for Her email address is Her Twitter handle is @LizWFB.

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