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GOP List of Wasteful Spending: Mushroom Farming, Bike Racks

Congressional Republicans are trying to embarrass Democrats into spending less by highlighting what they said are the most wasteful spending projects of 2009, including almost $400,000 in federal money to encourage West Virginians to grow ginseng and shitake mushrooms.

"These items are eye opening and might be amusing, but they are symptomatic of a fatal disease here in Congress that will cripple, cripple the future prosperity of Americans," said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Their list includes almost $16 million worth of special projects from both Democrats and Republicans:

• $1.9 million "Water Taxis to Nowhere" (Pleasure Beach, CT)
• $3.8 million urban art trail in Rochester, N.Y.
• $3.1 million in "mechanical upgrades" to an 88-year-old boat owned by the State Museum in New York
• $3 million for new bicycle racks in Georgetown, one of Washington, D.C.'s most affluent areas
• $1.5 million to streetscape six blocks around a casino in downtown Detroit
• $578,000 to fight homelessness in Union, New York, a town with no reported homeless people
• $550,000 skateboard park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
• $500,000 in fish food for Missouri fish farmers
• $400,000 to renovate a vacant building in the city of Jal, New Mexico
• $380,350 to encourage West Virginia landowners to grow ginseng and shiitake mushrooms
• $90,000 for a communal kitchen for entrepreneurs in Watsonville, Calif.

Just hours after the list was released, the House passed a $447 billion bill to keep six government agencies funded next year. Taxpayers for Common Sense put out an initial analysis of that bill and found over 5,000 earmarks adding up to almost $4 billion.

Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.
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