Erik Paulsen takes "Ice Bucket Challenge" for ALS research after voting to cut ALS research

Paulsen helped raise money for ALS research as a private citizen, but not as a congressman.
Paulsen helped raise money for ALS research as a private citizen, but not as a congressman.

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, along with 15 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been singled out by the Huffington Post for taking the "Ice Bucket Challenge" this summer to raise money for ALS research despite voting to cut government funding for that same sort of research back in 2011.

Sure, that sounds hypocritical on its face, but it's not necessarily so simple. The bill Paulsen supported that cut ALS funding -- the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- cut a number of federal agencies' budgets by 5 percent, including the National Institute of Health. In other words, it took a cleaver to spending, not a scalpel.

See also:
Sheila Kihne occupies Erik Paulsen's office after he says he wants to end shutdown

The bottom line, however, is that the cleaver ended up reducing federal funding for ALS research from $44 million to $39 million from fiscal year 2012 to 2013, the HuffPo reports. A subsequent budget deal approved this year increased funding for ALS-specific research by $1 million, but that still amounts to a $4 million shortfall compared to four years ago.

Of course, one can support ALS research while believing government should play less of a role in funding it. But nonetheless, the inconsistency between Paulsen's vote and his subsequent embrace of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has raised more than $40 million for the ALS Association so far, drew this rebuke from retiring Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan):

We called and emailed Paulsen's press secretary seeking comment, but haven't heard back as this is published.

In any event, here's video of Paulsen fulfilling the Ice Bucket Challenge and challenging Amy Klobuchar, Rich Stanek, and Surly founder Omar Ansari to do the same:

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.

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