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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the death of legendary news editor Ben Bradlee.

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the death of legendary news editor Ben Bradlee.

December 18th, 2013
05:16 PM ET

Sen. Coburn: Why is Congress cutting veterans' pay, but not wasteful spending?

(CNN) - A 3D "pizza printer" for astronauts? $125,000. A rockin' trip to Rio for indie music execs? $285,000. Tax exemptions for Nevada brothels? $17.5 million. Congress sticking tax payers with the tab for all this stuff? Not so "priceless."

Those are just some of the bizarre expenses the U.S. government is funding on the taxpayer's dime, according to Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma.

It's all part of Coburn's annual "Wastebook," outlining 100 examples of what he calls egregious federal spending, out just in time for the bipartisan budget vote in the Senate Wednesday.

So what's the most outrageous expense from this year's tally?

The U.S. Air Force "buying airplanes that you're not going to use and shipping them to the desert, $677 million of them, that's pretty egregious," Coburn said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"Part of it is the Congress forced them to do it. Part of it is because they are buying an airplane that they didn't really want," said Coburn. "They were forced to buy them, and instead of using those, they bought C-130s to replace."

Bigger picture, Coburn blames Congress, not the various federal agencies, for all the wasteful spending.

"Congress doesn’t want to do the hard work of overseeing these agencies, of doing the hearings that are required to get the information, to holding the agencies accountable so that they are fearful that if they continue to make really stupid decisions, that there might be a consequence," said Coburn.

Coburn voted against the budge deal passed by the Senate Wednesday, criticizing the cuts to veterans, among other things.

"When we have that kind of waste and people making decisions that say we're not going to look at where the real waste is, we're going to take injured veterans and limit their pensions ... it doesn't fit," said Coburn.

For more of our interview with Senator Tom Coburn, including why he voted no on the bipartisan budget deal, check out the video above.

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