Monday, March 09, 2020

Anti-Science Republicans Playing Dangerous Games With Coronavirus Outbreak


Last Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, by a lopsided bipartisan vote-- 415-2. Two far right sociopaths, Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Ken Buck (R-CO), voted against it, whining about the high cost. Several other Republicans were also whining about the cost but in the end they feared their constituents and voted for the $8.3 billion package. Crackpot Matt Gaetz, who is now in quarantine and also opposed the bill but voted for it in the end, caused a kerfuffle when he showed up to vote and make light of the pandemic in with an absurd gas-mask (a couple of days before one of his constituents died of COVID-19).

No one wants to sit near Panhandle crackpot Matt Gaetz

This is the complete bill:
This bill provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations for
the Food and Drug Administration,
the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention,
the National Institutes of Health, and
the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.
In addition, the bill provides supplemental appropriations for
the Small Business Administration,
the Department of State, and
the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The supplemental appropriations are designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.

The programs funded by the bill address issues such as
developing, manufacturing, and procuring vaccines and other medical supplies;
grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations;
loans for affected small businesses;
evacuations and emergency preparedness activities at U.S. embassies and other State Department facilities; and
humanitarian assistance and support for health systems in the affected countries.
The bill also allows HHS to temporarily waive certain Medicare restrictions and requirements regarding telehealth services during the coronavirus public health emergency.

And then Pelosi sent it over to the Senate, Trump saying he would sign it if the Senate passed it. Rand Paul (R-KY) offered an amendment that would take the $8.3 billion from foreign ad. Not many people thought that was a good idea and it was defeated 81-15. The 15 were all Republicans, of course:
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Mike Braun (R-IN)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Ted Cruz (R-TX)-- currently quarantined
Steve Daines (R-MT)
Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
John Kennedy (R-LA)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sonny Perdue (R-GA)
James Risch (R-ID)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
When the House bill authorizing the $8.3 billion, only one person voted no, Rand Paul.

Meanwhile, Pelosi and Schumer issued a joint statement yesterday that goes even further. "We are hoping to work with the administration on a coordinated, government-wide plan to respond to the coronavirus. However, President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration, and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak... The administration must move more quickly and seriously to address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on the financial security of America’s families." What they're asking for is pretty straight-forward-- paid sick leave, a temporary increase in unemployment insurance and "widespread and free" testing for the coronavirus.

How are Republicans responding to all this? Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went on Fox's Sunday Morning Futures yesterday and told Maria Bartiromo that Pelosi didn't bring up the bill fast enough and that, in fact, she intentionally delayed it so Democrats could run Super Tuesday ads. "We should have had this bill a week earlier. The Democrats actually held this bill, so Congresswoman Bustos, who runs the DCCC, could run ads against Republicans."

The ads McCarthy was angry about noted that "The Trump administration would rather pad the pockets of drug manufacturers than provide access to an affordable coronavirus vaccine." The Democratic response to McCarthy's accusations, which he had made earlier on Laura Ingraham's show, was pretty good:

"Leader McCarthy should be embarrassed that he cares more about his political fortunes than ensuring working Americans can afford an eventual coronavirus vaccine. Washington Republicans are already blocking bipartisan House-passed legislation to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. It’s disgraceful that their obedience to drug manufacturers is holding up the government’s response to a virus that threatens millions of Americans."

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At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just how stupid would someone have to be to not understand that the reason Pelosi and both parties (except rand paul) want to shake loose that money is to give phrma a healthy profit for their vaccine(s)?

Pelosi is a lying sack of shit. I'd also assume that the timing of her allowing the vote on the bill was totally political rather than altruistic.

I've been watching Pelosi for decades. she has no altruistic cell in her withering doddering body. She's all corruption; all political.


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