Republicans are only pretending to care about the potential health emergency of Zika. They did bring a funding bill to the Senate. But they also assured that the bill would never pass by including provisions in the bill to defund Obamacare, block Planned Parenthood from providing contraception, and allow Confederate flags in federal cemeteries.
President Obama and the Democrats have been pressuring Congress to pass funding to fight the mosquito-born Zika virus. After dragging their feet for months, the Republicans finally brought a bill to the Senate which included $1.1 Billion to fight Zika on Tuesday. But in an unbelievable act of stupid political gamesmanship they also included enough poison pills in the bill to assure that it would never pass.
So, at this time where we are facing a pressing public health emergency, the Dems were forced to block the Zika bill because it included unacceptable policy changes and cut money from other programs. Some of the provisions in the bill would have prevented women from having access to contraception and weakened environmental restrictions on pesticide use.
The Zika virus can be passed from person to person through sexual contact. But, even knowing that, the Republicans sabotaged the legislation by including provisions that would block money from and stop Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Health Organization, and other clinics from providing contraception needed to fight Zika. They also included a provision that would cut $540 Million from Obamacare funding and removed a House provision that would ban flying Confederate flags in federal cemeteries. Seriously.
Another thing the Dems didn’t like was a provision that would reallocate $107 Million from Ebola programs. Democrats believe that the Ebola money is very much needed to continue fighting Ebola.
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson from Florida said, “They’re just not living in the real world, and they’re just not facing the fact that this is an emergency.”
There is no doubt that the Republicans knew that including so many partisan provisions would make the bill fail. But now they think they can score political points by being able to say that the Democrats have blocked the extremely important Zika bill. Once again the GOP has put party politics ahead of the safety and well-being of the country.
Featured image by ktla.com