4.26.2009

GOP Know-Nothings Fought Pandemic Preparedness

Oh, you silly rethugs, you!

From the Nation:

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year's emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse -- with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obey's attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient.

And his partisan attacks on his efforts seem not just creepy, but dangerous....

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Think Progress has more:

In Attempt To Placate The Right Wing, Collins and Specter Endorsed Pandemic Flu Funding Cut

On February 5, Karl Rove took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to argue against President Obama's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act because, in his view, the spending was not targeted to create or preserve jobs. In particular, Rove complained about the fact that the bill included "$900 million for pandemic flu preparations." He contended that such spending was unnecessary because the health care sector "added jobs last year."

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) included the pandemic preparation funding in the package because he believed "that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse." But Rove was not concerned with the actual substance of the funding.

As does Daily Kos' Dana Houle:

Collins, Republicans, Killed Off Enhanced Pandemic Preparedness


Hey, remember during the negotiations over the stimulus bill, when those prudent Senate Republicans extorted Obama to indulge their budgetary fetishes but still championed preparedness for an influenza pandemic?

No, of course you don't, because the Gang of Three Republicans, with support from their Democratic abettors, killed a House-backed proposal to enhance pandemic preparedness.

Do you want to know who to blame for the US not being optimally prepared for an influenza pandemic? Start with Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins:

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