GOP lawmaker invokes pooping pandas, Batman costumes in opposing bill

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Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) blasted a bipartisan bill calling for billions in spending on science and technology research as only he could Monday, saying its Republican backers had “swapped brains” with Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was “running around like a 5-year-old in a Batman costume” at the prospect of its passage.

“It is an orgy of spending and very little of the money goes to the military,” the famously folksy Kennedy told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” of the Endless Frontier Act, which is co-sponsored by seven Republicans — including big names like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mitt Romney of Utah — and six Democrats, including Schumer.

The bill is framed by its supporters as an effort to shore up American technological superiority against the growing threat of China.

“Right now, the Chinese Communist Party is emphasizing to the world that the United States is a divided nation,” Senate co-sponsor Todd Young (R-Ind.) said in a statement last month. “This is a rare opportunity to show the authoritarians in Beijing, and the rest of the world, that when it comes to our national security, and most importantly our China policy, we are united.”

However, Kennedy argued, “my mother did not raise a fool, and if she did, it was one of my brothers. This is not a ‘fight Communism’ bill. If you look at this bill, and study it, you will see this is an ‘all four feet and your snout in the trough’ spending bill with virtually no money going for military defense.”

After Kennedy held up 12 stacks of bound pages to show off the bill’s size to host Tucker Carlson, he ticked off a list of unrelated provisions.

“Here’s what the bill will do,” he said. “$120 billion in foreign aid. I don’t know why we can’t use that money for infrastructure. I don’t know why we have to give money to countries that hate us. They should be able to hate us for free.”

Kennedy also called out a provision in the bill setting aside “$80 billion to the infamous National Science Foundation. This is the same National Science Foundation that spent $500,000 of taxpayer money studying how long it takes pandas to poop.

“The answer is 12 minutes, by the way,” Kennedy deadpanned. “They need more fiber.”

The Republican lawmaker added that while he was “not saying that every penny in here is wasteful, I’m saying an enormous amount is, and here we are talking about President Biden raising taxes to pay for infrastructure. Why can’t we use some of this money to pay for infrastructure? That’s all I’m saying.

“Everybody in Washington is for fiscal responsibility. They want to cut spending,” Kennedy concluded. “But everybody in Washington – it’s like going to heaven. They want to go to heaven, but they don’t want to take the trip.”

The bill is currently being debated in the Senate and Kennedy acknowledged that “it’s probably going to pass.”

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