The politics of disease.
This story is a perfect example of why everyone hates Congress.
The senate tried to pass a bill funding research and prevention of the Zika Virus. Democrats blocked it and fully intend to blame the GOP for any spread of the virus.
Democrats block Zika funding bill, blame GOP
Congress is poised for an epic failure in its efforts to combat Zika before lawmakers leave Washington for a seven-week vacation — and it could come back to bite Republicans at the ballot box if there’s an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in the United States this summer.
Senate Democrats rejected the GOP funding measure on Tuesday, 52-48, arguing that it would rob Obamacare of funding, impose new restrictions on Planned Parenthood and provide some $800 million less than the Obama administration is seeking. They’re also miffed that the measure, part of legislation to finance the Veterans Affairs Department, would allow the Confederate flag to fly at veterans cemeteries.
The stalemate carries real political risk: In 2014, Republicans blasted the Obama administration and Democrats’ response to Ebola, contributing to a public perception in the midterm election of feckless Democratic rule.
Republicans gained control of the Senate that year — but now find their playbook is being used against them.
Republicans “taught us with Ebola,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “A public health crisis? Take it seriously. I don’t believe they’ve taken it seriously at all.”
This video from Wochit News provides a little more background:
ABC News points out that another stumbling block for the bill was Planned Parenthood:
Senate Zika Bill Falls Apart Largely Over Planned Parenthood Objections
A billion-dollar bill to help address the Zika virus crisis fell apart on the Senate floor today over perennial partisan squabbles — namely, about whether to devote funding to the family planning organization Planned Parenthood.
Democrats blamed Republicans for using the bill to “whack” the organization, while Republicans said the bill included plenty of funding, allocated in the most effective way, to target those most affected by the Zika virus, including those seeking contraceptive services.
Both statements are disputed by the opposing side, but the fact is that the bill failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to advance, largely over disagreements about a portion of the money that amounted to less than 9 percent of its funding.
Republicans had issues in the bill, too:
The Zika bill also contained provisions related to the environment and the display of Confederate flags that Democrats find objectionable. In addition to the policy specifics, Democrats object to the fact that the House Republicans revised and passed the conference report in a party-line vote in the dead of night last week amid the protests of Democrats who were staging an unrelated sit-in on the floor of the House on gun safety measures.
So somehow, a bill which was supposed to be about the Zika Virus became a battle over Planned Parenthood and Confederate Flags.
That’s why so many people hate Congress.
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