An Open Letter To Rep. Susan Collins (R-Me)

Ken AshfordAvian/Swine Flu, Health CareLeave a Comment

Dear Rep. Collins:

Your website boasts that you led the fight to cut "$780 million" for pandemic-flu preparedness from Obama's stimulus package.

It kind of makes you look like a jerk now.

You're probably still wondering what pandemic-flu preparedness has to do with an economic recovery stimulus bill.  Sadly, I think you're about to find out.

But it was explained to you before:

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.

But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans — led by Maine Senator Susan Collins — aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.

It's kind of like when Bobby Jindel mocked the stimulus package for containing a few million for "volcano monitoring".  Jindel claimed to not know what the hell that was about, therefore (he reasoned) it must be pork.  Less than a month later, an Alaskan volcano erupted.  But we were able to protect lives and divert plane flights, etc., thanks to… volcano monitoring.

I know, I know.  You were just trying to attack the spending in the stimulus bill, because that's how you maintain your GOP cred. 

Thankfully, you lost that battle.


The Seventh Sense

P.S.  I don't know if you know the governor of Texas — Governor Rick "Texas Can Secede" Perry.  But if you see him, perhaps you can ask him why the supposedly "self-sufficient" state of Texas has to borrow all kinds of federal money to fight the swine flu outbreak, and what Texas would be doing right now if it were, as many Texans hope, a totally independent nation.

It seems to me that bashing the federal government for spending is in vogue with a lot of conservatives, but they're more than happy to take the money.