Posts Tagged ‘Susan Collins’

Sully Embraces High Broderism

Monday, April 27th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Andrew Sullivan, on the revelation that Susan Collins and Arlen Specter define their moderation by doing things like delaying the appropriation of funds to fight flu pandemics:

I take the point but a little less partisanship in a public health crisis is surely warranted.

Or…no. I can see where it might seem cheap to “score points” off of a public health issue, but at the same time, public policy has real consequences. And this is one of those times where¬†that seems pretty stark. It would be one thing, I suppose, f there was some level of egregious hypocrisy involved, and I’m personally more than happy to include Ben Nelson in the list of offenders here if that will make Sullivan happier, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out that a group of policy makers opposed the appropriation of a relatively small amount of money to better prepare our country for a potential pandemic. If that’s “partisan,” it’s only because the Republican Party, at this point in time, is uniquely absurd. And if Republicans, or politicians of any party for that matter, don’t want to be criticized for quashing funding for public health emergencies, then they shouldn’t vote against those sorts of things.

Republicans Are Bad For Your Health: Susan Collins Edition

Monday, April 27th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Talk about bad timing:

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.

Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obey’s attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient.

Collins, echoing Rove, was particularly adamant that $870 million directed at preparing for a flu pandemic did not belong in the economic stimulus bill. Because pandemics aren’t bad for economic activity or anything. And, of course, no one could have predicted that “swine flu” would present a potential pandemic all of 3 months later.

But at least Collins is a moderate.