The party of “one man, one woman,” of treasonous secessionists, of fighting attempts to stop violence in schools, and of opposition to federal unemployment benefit funding may have yet another accomplishment to be “proud” of; they may have sentenced Americans to death if tthe Swine Flu crisis escalates:
$870 million in money to improve the Center for Disease Control's ability to handle a possible flu pandemic was removed from the economic stimulus bill Congress passed in February, largely at the behest of Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins and Specter argued that the funding did not belong in the economic recovery package, although the $870 million figure would have accounted for roughly 1.1% of the final bill's total value. Less than 3 months later, health officials fear that the appearance of swine flu in Mexico, which has traveled to New York City and other areas of the United States, could set off a long feared flu pandemic the US healthcare system is not prepared to handle.
In fairness, a Democrat was involved as well, but hs is a very conservative Dem who Rachel Maddow had at when the stimulus bill was passed.
Collins and Specter, along with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), were at the core of a group of “moderate” Senators arguing that the stimulus bill was too large, and sought out to slash funding for various programs before passage of the final bill. Sen. Specter argued that funding pandemic control through the emergency supplemental package would be “inappropriate,” and that the money should be appropriated via the normal budget process. Assuming that no emergency funds are provided this year, this would likely mean funds would be approiated early in 2010 in an omnibus appropriations package.