From Media Matters:
Senator Susan Collins of Maine worked to strip money to fight pandemic flu from the stimulus bill in February, and now the swine flu is sweeping across the country. So, Senator Collins, was it worth it?
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Oh, and let's not forget, Susan not only got the funds stripped from the economic stimulus package, she's been bragging about it on her website (ht to Firedoglake) by posting a glowing Wall Street Journal Review of her leadership in getting it removed during negotiations:
After meeting with Mr. Obama, Sen. Collins expressed concern about a number of spending provisions, including $780 million for pandemic-flu preparedness. "I have no doubt that the president is willing to negotiate in good faith, that he wants to have a bipartisan bill," Sen. Collins said
And, here is Susan Collins full of excuses today in a statement released by her office:
"As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Collins has led hearings on pandemic flu preparedness, worked on "bioshield" legislation and funding, and helped strengthen our nation's preparedness for a pandemic flu.
"Claims that she is opposed to increased funding for pandemic flu research are blatantly false and politically motivated. In fact, in December 2008, Senator Collins joined in a letter to Senate leaders requesting a $905 million increase for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Department of Health and Human Services.
"During negotiations of the economic stimulus package, Senator Collins always maintained that, though very worthwhile, pandemic flu research funding should go through the regular appropriations process since it did not meet the test of stimulus spending. And, in fact, the Omnibus Appropriations bill that was signed into law in March, less than a month after the stimulus bill, contains $156 million for pandemic influenza research, which is $1.4 million more than the Fiscal Year 2008 level.
"Congress previously appropriated $6.1 billion for pandemic preparedness activities at the Department of Health and Human Services. This funding has been used for stockpiling antiviral drugs for the treatment of more than 50 million Americans, licensing a pre-pandemic influenza vaccine, developing rapid diagnostics and completing the sequencing of the entire genetic blueprints of 2,250 human and avian influenza viruses.
"There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds. It is, however, a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services still do not have top positions filled. I hope that the Senate will move promptly to confirm Governor Sebelius for HHS Secretary."
Wahhhhhhhhhhhh. Cry me a fucking river.