U.S. lawmakers might have to ditch a professional artist for Microsoft Paint if they want a new official portrait next year. Uncle Sam won’t be paying for official portraits in 2015 if Congress passes the budget agreement reached Thursday. It’s just one of the odd items wrapped in the 1,603-page spending bill that needs to be passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama by midnight Thursday to avert a government shutdown.
The withholding of federal funding of official portraits applies to “any executive branch employees, lawmakers and heads of legislative agencies,” according to the Washington Post. Such officials will either have to raise funds privately for their official portraits or come up with the money themselves.
While the 2014 budget bill isn’t kind to vain federal employees, it does have the backs of America’s ranchers. The legislation sets aside $1 million in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s budget to compensate ranchers who have livestock killed by wolves, according to Environment & Energy Publishing. It’s a miniscule amount of the $1.1 trillion budget, or about one-one hundred thousandth of the spending.
Another $2 million in Interior Department funding is allocated “to stop the spread of the invasive quagga and zebra mussels in the West,” according to E&E. Quagga mussels have been blamed for disrupting ecosystems and clogging boat engines in Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona and the Colorado River in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California, according to the National Park Service and the Arizona Daily Sun. Zebra mussels inflict similar types of damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The list of odd things in the 2015 budget is tame compared to previous spending plans, including millions in funding to study male prostitutes in Vietnam and the video game "World of Warcraft."
Want to know what else in the budget? Read the 1,603-page spending bill below: