Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Susan Collins: I Was For It Before I Was Against It

In a press release issued yesterday, and is posted on Senator Collins’ senate website, Senator Susan Collins adamantly denies that she opposed getting funding for pandemic flu research.

Here is part of her statement, the part that gets a bit testy:

“Claims that she is opposed to increased funding for pandemic flu research are blatantly false and politically motivated. In fact, in December 2008, Senator Collins joined in a letter to Senate leaders requesting a $905 million increase for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Department of Health and Human Services.”

So why did Collins move to slice the same $900 million from the Stimulus Bill?

“…pandemic flu research funding should go through the regular appropriations process since it did not meet the test of stimulus spending.”

A technicality?

Susan Collins opposed pandemic flu research funds, and by default, supported a possible swine flu epidemic, because of a technicality?

You know it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that $900 million spends just as well whether it is put in a “stimulus bill” or an appropriations bill (which, really, when you come right down to it, is what the stimulus bill actually was).

But more to the point is the fact that pandemic flu research is actually part and parcel of economic recovery. The point is not that flu research brings in more jobs, that is patently absurd. The reason Democrats put this funding in the stimulus bill was because of the massive “What If.”

What if in the middle of a slow climb out of the cellar America, or worse, the entire world is hit with a pandemic killer flu on the order of the one that killed millions after World War 1? Not only do people lose their lives and treasure, but in proactively preventing spread of the flu, schools, businesses, banks, stock exchanges, retail outlets all close. Society and the economy all grind to a halt.

Nope, sorry Senator, that was just a bad call on your part. One that sounded good to you at the time, but one that now has all of the hallmarks of being for it before being against it. No press release is going to undo your blunder.

Especially with an explanation like that.

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