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article imageRove, GOP mocked Obama spending on 'pandemic flu preparations'

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 27, 2009 in Politics
Swine flu is now threatening to become a global flu epidemic. When Obama wanted to allocate funds in his stimulus package for “pandemic flu preparedness”, Karl Rove mocked him for excessive spending.
When Obama in his new budget wanted to allocate funds for “pandemic flu preparedness”, Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal and mocked him for excessive spending. The swine flu pandemic has killed more than 100 in Mexico and has infected people worldwide and threatens to become a global flu epidemic.
When Obama wanted to put a portion of stimulus money towards “pandemic flu preparations”, Rove wrote a scathing column in the Wall Street Journal attacking Obama administration for reckless spending.
Rove noted the $900 million used for “pandemic flu preparations”. He wrote in the column:
There’s also $4 billion for health programs like obesity control and smoking cessation, $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations.
He then said the Obama’s stimulus package is filled with new spending programs.
Much of it is spending Democrats couldn’t get approved in the normal course of affairs… Putting budgets of political allies above the budgets of struggling families is apparently the new Democratic trickle-down economics.
Thanks to his protest and GOP, the $900 million was removed when House and Senate representative met to clear the stimulus package. The House approved it but the Senate revoked the provision. The legislators wanted this spending on the regular budget not on the stimulus bill.
Dr. Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy earlier this year that if “pandemic flu preparations” provision is removed then he said they will never have the resources to fight pandemic flu scenarios. Just like he predicted, the Swine flu pandemic is here. Are we prepared?
Jarris told them:
We are extremely concerned about the diminishing funding for state and local preparedness as well as the removal of all funding for pandemic flu, and the decrease in funding for hospital preparedness...It seems that Congress is turning a blind eye to state and local health preparedness.
The $900 million provision was introduced by the House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat, but was ridiculed by conservatives and Congressional Republicans.
Main Senator Susan Collins ridiculed the notion that there is a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.
AP reported in February how the GOP were using this as a main strategy to fight the Obama administration:
"Republicans, meanwhile, plan to push for broader and deeper tax cuts, to trim major spending provisions that support Democrats' longer-term policy goals, and to try to knock out what they consider questionable spending items, such as $870 million to combat the flu and $400 million to slow the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases."
Obey and advocates warned that if we spend less on “pandemic preparedness” during recession, then many would be ordered to remain in home affecting the growth, transportation systems will come to a halt, and demand for emergency services and public health interventions will increase considerably.
After all the efforts Obey was only able to secure $50 million for information systems at the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS), whereas for “pandemic flu preparations”, the state and local governments got nothing.
Even the Republican Governor from Texas, Rick Perry, who advocated separating his state from the country because of excess spending by Obama administration and his tax plans, is now seeking help from the government to combat the swine flu.
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