Quantcast
Connect with us

Critics remember Susan Collins’ insistence pandemic flu funding be cut from 2009 stimulus package

Published

on

Political observers on social media pointed to an overlooked vote by Sen. Susan Collins from over a decade ago as one example of Republicans’ disregard for public health, which has helped the coronavirus outbreak rapidly spin out of control in the U.S. as the government lags behind other industrialized countries in tracking and controlling the spread of the disease.

ADVERTISEMENT

Roll Call correspondent Niels Lesniewski highlighted an April 2009 article from the publication in which Collins was forced to defend her refusal to include pandemic flu funding in an economic stimulus package two months earlier, several months into the Great Recession.

Michael Grunwald of Politico also remembered reporting on the vote:

Democrats warned at the time that the loss of $870 million in pandemic funds from the $787 billion package would result in an inability to effectively fight an infectious disease outbreak—but Collins insisted the funds should not be included in an appropriations bill because they “do not boost our economy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Senator Collins went out of her way to stop funds from going to pandemic preparedness, and now Mainers are concerned because of Collins’ history of opposing funding for situations exactly like this,” said Willy Ritch, executive director of Maine-based grassroots advocacy group 16 Counties Coalition. “We need to tell Senator Collins to stop playing games with our health and vote to protect Maine families.”

Others, including Democrat Betsy Sweet, who is running for Collins’s Senate seat, echoed the criticism:

ADVERTISEMENT

The April 2009 article was published as an outbreak of H1N1 began. The outbreak would kill more than 12,000 people in the U.S. before it was declared over the following year.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the debate over the stimulus bill, Collins was one of three Republican senators planning to vote for the package. As Steven T. Dennis wrote at Roll Call, “Collins wielded enormous influence…and the trio demanded substantial cuts from bills that passed the House and Senate as the price of their support. The flu funding, originally sought by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), was a high-profile casualty, one that Collins herself cited on the Senate floor.”

As the H1N1 outbreak began, Obey denounced his colleague’s move.

“Whether or not this influenza strain turns out to have pandemic potential, sooner or later some strain will,” Obey told the Washington Times at the time. “We are not prepared today. Let’s hope we don’t need to be.”

ADVERTISEMENT

On Twitter, Collins’s staffer, Annie Clark, pushed back on the discussion about the senator’s key role in eliminating the pandemic funding, saying Collins said in 2009 that she simply objected to including the funds in the stimulus package and that funding was passed later that year.

Dan Aibel of the blog Collins Watch called Clark’s claim “disingenuous.”

“Collins didn’t just ‘say’ the funding should be removed from the stimulus; she made removal of pandemic flu preparedness funding A CONDITION OF HER VOTE,” Aibel wrote. “And was quite open about it. This was widely reported at the time.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Former acting CIA director explains why Trump’s inaction on Russian bounty scandal will make things worse

Published

on

It was revealed nearly two weeks ago that the Russian government is paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

Since then, President Donald Trump has denied that he and his administration didn't know anything about it. Then he claimed it was a hoax. Now it has become clear that the stories are not only true but that if Trump read his presidential daily briefing in 2019, he would have been aware of the problem.

Speaking to the House Thursday, Trump's former acting CIA director Michael Morell explained that things are being made far worse by the president's denial.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here are 7 hilarious videos about wearing COVID-19 masks to send people who won’t wear them

Published

on

While late-night shows are off for a Summer break, Americans are glued to TikTok and Twitter for their humor and every folks have delivered.

The latest trend is to mock fools who refuse to wear masks. While many people who refuse to wear a mask tuck their tails and sulk as they walk away, some take it to a whole new level of fury. Those precious souls are being mocked and shamed all around the world.

Here are seven videos that are hilarious or adorable that encourage wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wearing a mask is like wearing a lifejacket.https://twitter.com/mattbooshell/status/1280933495674732544

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump tells Fox News the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign on Fifth Avenue is like he’s being ‘prosecuted’

Published

on

President Donald Trump appeared to reveal another quid pro quo during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pointed it out during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them... I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything. Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I was so good to him and to Gov. Cuomo, like nobody's ever been good. And then all you end up doing out of that place is getting prosecuted."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image