The Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington appeared Tuesday on Fox News to discuss her article about how the federal government wasted $50 million that could have been allocated towards Zika research and prevention.
"The National Institutes of Health has spent more on exercise programs for refugees, anti-tobacco video games, weight-loss programs for truckers, and studies on gay hook up apps than it has to fight the Zika virus," Harrington reported on Monday.
Fox News host Abby Huntsman cited the different studies Harrington described that the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, has funded
The NIH used the $50 million to fund a range of studies, including:
The agency spent $1,679,030 on an exercise program for refugees, which sends "community partners" into mosques to talk about physical activity.
Anti-obesity rap songs for kids were part of a joint project between the NIH and the Department of Agriculture that cost taxpayers $2,495,850.
A study of the college "freshman 15" has cost $1,143,919.
A weight-loss program for truck drivers, where researchers give them motivational phone calls while they are on the road, has cost $2,658,929.
Huntsman asked Harrington if there was much to show for these studies.
"There is not much," she responded.
Harrington explained that researchers go into behavioral studies with their hypotheses, use all the money given, and then come out with an analysis that is self-explanatory or does not prove helpful to the relevant cause.
"When you look at this behavioral research, lots of the times the researchers come in, and they have a hypothesis, they spend this money doing God knows what, and then they come out, they publish their results, which basically [are] self-explanatory–like the three and a half million dollars for lesbian obesity," she said. "One of the published results they found was that gay men have a greater desire for toned muscles than straight men. It’s like okay, that is really helpful in this battle over obesity."
Harrington said these are the kinds of results that the American people are getting for millions of their taxpayer dollars.
Huntsman said that there is a growing concern in the United States about the fight against Zika while the NIH is requesting more funding.
"They’re [the NIH] asking for more money from us, right?" she asked.
"Absolutely," Harrington said.
She added that concern for Zika is a worthy reason for funding, citing the ebola outbreak as evidence of the potential dangers from paying insufficient attention to these issues.
Harrington said that every year, the NIH gets more money, without someone coming in and either shutting down unused programs or making sure the money is being used in an efficient way.
Huntsman then asked Harrington who approves this money.
"It’s bureaucrats," she said. "Congress allocates the funding for NIH."