Monday, December 05, 2005

Being Blunt

Only ten days to Christmas. Not ten shopping days. Not ten calendar days. But ten working days in the House (and five in the Senate) for Congress to approve President Bush's request for $7.1 billion for pandemic flu preparedness (requested on November 1; the Senate requested $8 billion a week before that). But don't hold your breath (although that may be the best way to avoid flu, since Congress isn't going to help):
A House-Senate conference last week rejected adding the money to the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, with a budget rebellion in the House, health advocates are beginning to worry that Congress could end up doing nothing about pandemic flu until next year.

"The clock is ticking," said Richard Hamburg, director of government relations for Trust for America's Health, an organization that has been warning for more than a year that a pandemic influenza plan wasn't being drafted fast enough.

"There are contracts that need to be signed" to buy antiviral drugs and take other preparedness steps, he said. (Atlanta Journal Constitution via WTOP, Washington)
The conference is needed because the House didn't approve any money for pandemic preparedness. Thank Republican Majority leader, Roy Blunt, Tom Delay's stuffed puppet. He made sure the $8 billion from the Senate Democrats was deleted from the conference committee and that the President's request wasn't substituted. While he is logrolling Republican pork at the same time he is sticking it to those on food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, his constituents back home will go down with the rest of us if there is a pandemic.

Killed by a Blunt instrument.