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Swine Flu Outbreak Revives Controversy Over Stimulus Funds

By Ben Pershing

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee announced today it will hold a hearing this Wednesday on the federal government's response to the swine flu outbreak, even as a controversy is brewing over the role a senior member of the panel played in blocking funds for just this kind of public health emergency.

The liberal blogosphere has been percolating this morning with criticism of Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the top Republican on HSGAC, for having helped to strip close to $900 million for pandemic influenza preparedness from the economic stimulus package back in February. That bill passed with the crucial support of Collins and just two other Republicans after a handful of controversial or arguably non-stimulative items were removed, including the pandemic funding.

"Everybody in the room is concerned about a pandemic flu," Collins said at the time, referring to the stimulus negotiations. "But does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No, we should not."

Now that the swine flu outbreak has precipitated an official public health emergency, critics are piling on. John Nichols writes in The Nation that Collins and her fellow flu funding opponents -- including Karl Rove -- "were just playing politics, in the exceptionally narrow and irresponsible manner that characterized the Republican response to the stimulus debate." Another blogger put it more simply: "Way to have foresight, Susan."

But Collins's office is pushing back against the charge that she somehow put the nation at risk by opposing the inclusion of pandemic money in the stimulus. The record does show that the Maine senator is a longtime proponent of increased funding for flu preparedness, and in December, her office points out, Collins wrote to Senate leaders asking for a $905 million increase for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Even during the stimulus debate, Collins said repeatedly that she backed the idea of boosting the preparedness budget, but just didn't think it made sense to include the money in the stimulus measure because it was a stretch to consider it stimulative (though some analysts have pointed out that a widespread outbreak right now would make a bad economy even worse). Instead, Collins wanted the money added in the regular appropriations process, and the omnibus spending bill that was approved in March did include a small increase in funding for pandemic flu research.

To be fair, Collins wasn't the only senator who criticized the pandemic funding back in February. At the time, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) referred to the flu money as "one of the little porky things" that the House had put in the stimulus measure but the Senate had taken out.

Most importantly, Collins's spokesman points out, "There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds." And at the moment, the outbreak is not actually a pandemic. Collins and the others who led the fight to axe the flu money three months ago can only hope that doesn't change. If it does turn out the government doesn't have enough cash to fight the problem, Wednesday's hearing could get interesting.

By Ben Pershing  |  April 27, 2009; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Purse Strings , Senate  
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Comments

Sen. Collins was correct. The flu funds, while helpful in situations such as now, would have done nothing to stimulate the economy and did not belong in that bill.

Of course there were plenty of OTHER non-stimulating to the economy things that were also left in there that shouldn't have been...

Posted by: Zarina1 | April 27, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Some people on the left are too weird or outright insane to understand the difference between the stimulus bill and the regular federal budget process. They are separate pieces of legislation. The stimulus was to stimulate the economy, not a grab bag for every member's favorite candy...though a lot of that got in.

So who among her critics predicted a swine flu outbreak ... that is not a pandemic outbreak ... but fault her with not wanting to fund a pandemic outbreak? Couldn't you at least wait until there is a pandemic before you roll down that track? The banal criticism today will not stop or bring a pandemic if one is coming, so what's the point of yelping like a wounded dog before you get kicked?

Posted by: infuse | April 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

This article is dumber than rocks.

Clearly, pandemic flu funds don't belong in a stimulus package.

It's just like pundits to scapegoat people who have brains. That's not to say that the funding isn't needed - it may well be. But Collins is correct that this issue should be considered on it's own merits.

What's stopping congress from reviewing it RIGHT NOW? It would be a better use of congressional time than playing partisan politics as usual.

Posted by: postfan1 | April 27, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Though I do not generally post as a Republican apologist,the criticism of Senator Collins is misplaced. Her position on pandemic flu funding was technical, not oppositional. She believed, agree with her or not, that the pandemic funding was not appropriate to a stimulus package, but belonged in the regular budget.

She deserves further accolades for pointing our that those in her own party are, as this is written, holding up confirmation of the HHS Secretary Designate for political reasons.

Posted by: gshpc | April 27, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't fault Sen. Collins on this one. It's the pork and earmark flaunting by the Repo's that still linger.

Posted by: jerseydevil | April 27, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of the Republican party as it stands today, but why in the world is Collins being criticized for trying to appropriate funds the correct way? The stimulus bill wasn't intended to be a hole to fill with any pile of money; it's supposed to stimulate!!

the far left needs to take a breather.....

Posted by: theobserver4 | April 27, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA INCOMPETENCE EXACERBATES SWINE FLU

Team Obama is MISSING all key health safety positions. Today’s Wash Po notes:

“Noticeably absent on stage was a fully confirmed federal health care official: There was no health and human services secretary (Kathleen Sebelius 1. could be confirmed as early as tomorrow), no surgeon general (no new candidate has emerged since Dr. Sanjay Gupta dropped out) and no fully confirmed director of CDC (though Besser deftly handled a series of morning show interviews earlier today).(Federal Eye, Wash Po 4-27-2009)

RESPONSE: Obama has placed the health of the entire USA at risk solely for appointment of political hacks to Health Safety positions.

This should be called the “Obama Flu”.

And with all the Billions of Dem Pork....of COURSE this Pandemic will be blamed on Collins.

Perhaps we are too tough on Obama for neglecting tangential issues like Pandemic Prep...after all Obama has been busy with more pressing matters like the Bush Torture Pogrom....

Posted by: JaxMax | April 27, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I am sure the dead really care if the money was appropriated as part of the stimulus or the ordinary budget process. Bottom line, this was playing politics with lives like Jindal's being against volcano monitoring right before the last eruption. The point of public health is to have the resources and programs in place beforehand to keep an outbreak from becoming a pandemic (thus saving lives) then to try and contain a pandemic after major loss of life. Remember Katrina. Better to have the resources in place before the disaster.

Posted by: jvbutcher | April 27, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Yet another example of the GOP's self-serving mindset. They have made it abundantly clear that their main goal over the next four years is to interfere with the business of the Obama administration. Working to make the American people healthier, safer, and more prosperous is somewhere down on the list, just above "getting Carla Bruni's recipe for ratatouille".

Of course, the Republican Party insists that they demanded "pandemic preparedness" be stripped from the stimulus package because it had nothing to do with economic recovery. So the GOP couldn't foresee that a pandemic could impact the global economy...? Really? Is the concept of cause and effect totally missing from the analytical abilities of these folks?

Their argument essentially is that, rather than being manipulative obstructionists, they are merely shallow-minded, willing to sacrifice long-term goals for the sake of short-term political objectives. Much better.

Posted by: labman57 | April 27, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Aha.. yes! flu shots is a stimulant to the economy, Hello? With the baby boomers reaching critical mass...What better stimulant than monetary help with a flu shot? With inflation going up, and millions of elderly Americans living off a set amount of retirement! Is it any wonder that they would have to make a choice on things like their health or food...If flu shots are cheaper because of Governmental help, the money they save could be use for food instead of going with out their basic medicines....So yes this program is an economy stimulant...This is why I can not understand why Republicans don't see this. Anytime we can save students or the elderly money with any kind of health care, wither it be for birth control or something as simple as flu shots, we are helping the economy!

Posted by: nallcando | April 27, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

At some point, those Republican who have been "going along to get along" are going to realize that the Dems and the media will not treat them fairly even if they sell out their principles to appear bi-partisan and centrist. This is just another example of a moderate Republican offering a hand to the Dems and getting it spit on. When will they ever learn?

Posted by: amazd | April 27, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Is it not true that pandemic flu funding was contained in the Omnibus Bill that passed shortly after the Stimulus Package?

The tragedy is not the funding vehicle, but the partisan (Republican) games being played with appointments to key HHS positions in our government.

Posted by: gshpc | April 27, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA INCOMPETENCE EXACERBATES SWINE FLU

Team Obama is MISSING all key health safety positions. Today’s Wash Po notes:

“Noticeably absent on stage was a fully confirmed federal health care official: There was no health and human services secretary (Kathleen Sebelius 1. could be confirmed as early as tomorrow), no surgeon general (no new candidate has emerged since Dr. Sanjay Gupta dropped out) and no fully confirmed director of CDC (though Besser deftly handled a series of morning show interviews earlier today).(Federal Eye, Wash Po 4-27-2009)

RESPONSE: Obama has placed the health of the entire USA at risk solely for appointment of political hacks to Health Safety positions.

This should be called the “Obama Flu”.

And with all the Billions of Dem Pork....of COURSE this Pandemic will be blamed on Collins.

Perhaps we are too tough on Obama for neglecting tangential issues like Pandemic Prep...after all Obama has been busy with more pressing matters like the Bush Torture Pogrom....

Posted by: JaxMax | April 27, 2009 5:44 PM


------------------------------------------

Maybe if the party of fake Christians wasn't blocking Obama's health appointees we wouldn't have this problem, now would we?

Just another gift from the party of NO!!!

Posted by: htruman | April 27, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Today Limbaugh was telling the rubes that the flu was no big deal - and playing down the pandemic, e.g., "Real men like us don't worry about little things like a case of the flu".

I figured this meant Republicans had fouled up with something to do with the flu, but I couldn't imagine what until the Nation came out with this earlier today.

Seems to be a real smoking gun here as the GOP isn't trying to fool the rubes into thinking that Republicans didn't really kill the flu preparedness provision, they are instead taking the gamble of fooling the rubes into believing that the flu isn't a big deal.

Posted by: MorganaLeFay | April 27, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Check this out. A secessionist governor in Texas and a GOP idiot in SC have suffered potential mega disasters in their states and guess who are they asking to, er, huh, give them, huh, a "helping hand".......THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT!!! Who knew. That Texas j@ck@ss is dealing with a potential pandemic flu virus, and idiot Sanford, wanted help the douse wildfires ravaging a premier tourist destination. I feel for the citizens of these states, but it couldn't happen to two nicer..................idiots!!!

Posted by: demtse | April 27, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Republican's just plain stupid.

9/11 goats
Letting Bin Laden go in Tora Bora
Iraq
Outing CIA NOC agents
Economics
Disease prevention

Republican's just plain stupid.

Posted by: walker1 | April 27, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Repuiblicans just like to grandstand.

The more they act like buffoons to try to appeal to the 23% "ditto heads" the more they turn the rest of us off.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | April 27, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how the first batch of comments all repeat the same talking point, namely the unsupported and irrational claim that pandemic preparation spending is somehow not stimulating to the economy. There may be other more stimulating things, but government spending in this area would certainly create jobs. The attempt to claim otherwise is strange, though it is consistent with Republican thinking (such as it is). But I guess when you are grasping at straws to protect Senator Collins, I guess that is the best you can do.

Posted by: PutDownTheKoolaid | April 27, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

John Nichols' comments should be viewed as just playing politics, in the exceptionally narrow and irresponsible manner that characterizes nearly everything he writes or blogs about. John likes to make everything very partisan and he's always ready to attack any Republican for anything, even if she's serious, thoughtful, and moderate.

Posted by: louisefletcher1 | April 27, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Though I do not generally post as a Republican apologist,the criticism of Senator Collins is misplaced. Her position on pandemic flu funding was technical, not oppositional. She believed, agree with her or not, that the pandemic funding was not appropriate to a stimulus package, but belonged in the regular budget.

She deserves further accolades for pointing our that those in her own party are, as this is written, holding up confirmation of the HHS Secretary Designate for political reasons.

Posted by: gshpc | April 27, 2009 5:40 PM

------------------------------------------

I wholeheartedly agree. Though I generally vote Dem, I would have no problem voting for Senator Collins, assuming I resided in her state. She's a shining example of a pragmatic, solutions-first legislator, who unfortunately appears to be a dying breed.

Lay off Collins Dems.

Posted by: htruman | April 27, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Will all those who voted for her please explain why.

Posted by: Billy1932 | April 27, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe you can fault Senator Collins and her position on this matter. The left is doing the same thing the Conservatives would have done, try and make a political statement, that's politics in our country.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | April 27, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me for not mentioning I am a Democrat On my previous comment

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | April 27, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Yet nother example of the many dangers of listening to Karl Rove.

Posted by: gce1356 | April 27, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Its a waste of time to try to engage Republicans in intelligent debate.

The only solution is to steamroller over them.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | April 27, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

As an Obama-supporting public health professional, I say that Senator Collins was and is correct on all counts. The absence of that $900 million ($900 million!)
has nothing to do with the current outbreak or the response to it. Most of it was intended to prepare, warehouse, and distribute vaccine for an avian influenza pandemic, not swine flu.

Posted by: FadingFast | April 27, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Collins should apologize for her shortsightedness. Given her previous support for public health efforts, she should have known better. Instead, maintaining her connections to the GOP while adopting a moderate position on the stimulus bill caused her to support something really stupid. Shame on her. Even the Mainiacs deserve better than her.

Posted by: greener_pastures | April 27, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

In any case, maybe now is a good time to pass that provision.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | April 27, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Why is anyone surprised?

Isn't this the way the Republicans handled all major catastrophes, disasters and emergencies?

Why would anyone want to set money aside for these occurrences just in case you don't need it? Then it becomes more unaccountable, unbudgeted funds the Corporate Welfare class can appropriate.

Besides, they probably look at disasters as God's way of controlling the population.


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | April 27, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans in Washington must assume their supporters have dementia (and it's difficult to dispute), because they always wait until they're the underdogs in a crisis to remember they have principles. All of a sudden, look who wants to be fiscally responsible ! All of a sudden look who wants the content of legislation to actually adhere to its given title and purpose! The depth of Republicans' principles should be given a Darwin award, since they have completely taken themselves out of the principles (gene) pool !

Posted by: tjsiii | April 27, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"Of course there were plenty of OTHER non-stimulating to the economy things that were also left in there that shouldn't have been...

Posted by: Zarina1 | "
------
So you should be able to name a couple, at least.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 27, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

It is not her fault in this specific, but it is indicitive of the narrow minded myopic worldview of republicons in general. Unless it involves giving tax money to the richest few, or huge tax breaks for multi-billion dollar companies, or fancy new weapons to kill brown people who aren't Christian, republicons are against anything.

Posted by: John1263 | April 27, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The Republican administration reached its domestic nadir with its indifference toward the Katrina crisis. It was also a moral low point for this country in the ugliness demonstrated by so many white people (I so wish I didn't know some of these specimens) toward the people suffering in New Orleans.
I would suggest that Senator Collins consider erring on the side of greater rather than less funding for emergency health issues.

Posted by: peck3 | April 27, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

If I was a Bible-thumping, left-wing, liberal nut case, I'd be real tempted to propose this as being another case of God's Holy Judgment being visited upon the conservatives in general and the Republicans specifically; however, being moderate and independent, I'll just say, that's why it's called gambling, Sen. Collins lost and already dim prospects for the GOP next year grow dimmer.

Posted by: EuroAm | April 27, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

All those tea baggers out there should be proud. they are the folks scaring the bejesus out of normally sane people like Collins. She had the good sense to vote for the stimulus, but had to exact some concession to appease the blathering idiots who are the base of her party. I'll put down a nickle that the tea baggers will be right in line for government sponsored flu shots paid for with federal tax money through the federal CDC, just like they lined up in Carolina for federal money for their wildfires after all the grandstanding about not taking stimulus money, and in Texas - ditto but for this epidemic. Next they'll be looking to us folks in the Blue states that are actually productive and pay more in federal taxes than we get bakc to pay for the tea bag parties they'll throw after they get their flu shots..

Posted by: John1263 | April 27, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way, any spending is "stimulative." If you pay people to dig a hole one day and fill it in the next it is "stimulative" to the economy. However, it is best to target stimulus spending towards things that need doing anyway, like developing response plans for pandemics, fixing the electricity grid, repairing hisotric structures that were left to rot under the republicons (like Independecne Hall here in Philly) and getting the nation away from using so much fossil fuels by investing in efficiency and renewable energy. That way you stimulate the econmomy now, and lay the groundwork, the infrastrucutre, for the economy to grow later. Just like the New Deal.

Posted by: John1263 | April 27, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I strongly support President Obama and oppose the Republican party. However, these attacks on Sen. Collins are the worst sort of mindless partisan scheming.

She made a perfectly reasonable argument that preparation for a pandemic flu didn't belong in a stimulus package whose purpose was to bolster hiring, lending and spending as rapidly as possible in the short term.

And she was one of the very few republicans in either house of congress who were willing to put the good of the nation ahead of the narrow interests of her party and vote for the stimulus package in its final form.

This little controversy has brought that to my attention and increased my respect for her.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | April 27, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by:theobserver4|April 27,2009 5:42 PM

"...but why in the world is Collins being criticized for trying to appropriate funds the correct way? The stimulus bill....it's supposed to stimulate!!.."

The correct way would guarantee a no vote from the party of NOOOO!

After the cheney/bush administration gutted every department needed to defend the public's health and the panic in the U.S. 2001 anthrax scare,2003 SARS epidemic ... it's time to rebuild departments necessary to protect our health, it's a National defense priority!

Posted by: knjincvc | April 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"Team Obama is MISSING all key health safety positions. Today’s Wash Po notes:"

Appointments in two of these three positions have been made. But Guess Who is blocking the confirmation process...?

Posted by: thrh | April 27, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The fact (actual, verifiable fact) is that more people believe in UFOs (33%) than approve of the Republicans in Congress (26%).

Irrespective of the wing nut tripe that's previously posted on this thread or the (potentially well-meaning) Collins apologists around here, the bottom line is that the strike from the stimulus bill is hers and hers alone.

Anther bit of wisdom from the gang that brought you the Katrina response and "Mission Accomplished".

It's small wonder that more people believe in little green men than believe in Republicans.

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | April 27, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

why am I not surprised by the neck jerk response from the libs. blame everything on the past administration or the republicans in general. get over it, ok ? this again is nothing more that a pathetic attempt to divert attention away from the economy and the inept and draconian approach being taken to destroy private business, take away our individual freedoms, restrict free speech and label those who oppose for practical,or political, or personal or heaven forbid, faith based reasons as dangerous radicals in need of being monitored and reeducated. tee hee hee, bring it on you blind fools.

Posted by: upgp46 | April 27, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

As Rahm Emmanuel said, "Why waste a good crisis?"

Obama seems to create more crises than solutions. There's a flu bug. Big Deal.

In the Third World, the lack of medical practioner's and pharmaceuticals, combined with the potential of ignorance is the causation of issues.

Here in the US, the "Amazing Obama" says, we spend too much on health care and then today says, we needs to spend more, at least 3% of the GDP on science and technology for health care. Is this the "Amazing Obama" or "Amazing Teleprompter" speaking?

Use practices that promote good hygiene: wash your hands, your fruits and vegetables. Cook your food, thoroughly. Make sure that food is refrigerated or frozen at the proper temperature, especially dairy, eggs and egg products.

If you get the flu, drink lots of water and juices. Lick back, relax and enjoy the Retro TV Channel. The news is too depressing and full of hyperbole.

By the way, did you notice something today that wasn't published in the WAPO? ALL MAJOR NEWSPAPERS suffered a DECLINE in subscriptions, except The Wall Street Journal, which had a 6% increase.

I guess we can blame the decline of newspaper subscriptions and readership on the Bush Administration, too. Either that or the "Amazing Obama" provides his sermons in place of the news, because it is gospel to the Obama-Bots and Obama-Nutzis.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | April 27, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans keep getting things wrong. No wonder we are in a hole that we cant easily get out of.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | April 27, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Give Collins a good strong shot--of the swine 'flu. Then cut off all federal health aid to Texas, since they don't want to be part of the Union.

Posted by: kinoworks | April 27, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The irony that it would be an outbreak of *swine* flu of all things that highlights things taken from the porkulus bill is just too much.

Posted by: perfgeek | April 27, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

As a liberal-leaning Democrat, I'd say the criticism of Sen. Collins is pretty off-base. The right clearly does not have a monopoly on looniness.

Posted by: CntrvilleCitoyen | April 27, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat and a microbiologist and I agree with Sen. Collins on this one. She was not opposed to the funding, just the bill in which that funding appeared. I think she showed a bipartisan effort in making an argument based on technical grounds rather than an ideological bent. While the timing is unfortunate, I do not fault her.

On a side note I think calling this a pandemic is a bit premature. I do think it will reach that point, and I do not think we are prepared. The key here is to get the funding for preparedness, which Sen Collins will obviously support, quickly.

It is worth noting that earlier funded flu preparedness most likely would have focused on oft-hyped up bird flu, and may have had no effect on the current swine flu strain.

Let the attacks on me from all sides begin!

Posted by: mrmcross | April 27, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Two Points to be made:

1. Collins was right...this is not stimulative. Hindsight is 20/20. Spending like this should be in a regular budget, not a stimulus plan.

2. Without the votes of Collins, Specter, and Snowe, the stimulus had ZERO CHANCE of passing. Democrats better tread lightly...they may need the votes of these senators down the road.

Posted by: boosterprez | April 27, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Stop the political bickering and take action to stop this virus from spreading. This a infectious bomb about really to become a full blown pandemic and your worried about what political party is at fault for not providing the funds to battle this disease. The Congress only represent themselves and not the people. People will have to die before any real action will be taken and then its to late.

Posted by: jk330 | April 28, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

You and your readers may find this Citizens' Guide to be useful:

http://instedd.org/flumanual

alternate site:

http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1833


Note that the lead WHO infectious disease person, Dr. David Heymann, wrote the Foreword.

This publication is in the public domain and can be cited and used in whole or in part including illustrations. Feel free to print it, copy it and to provide it to others.

There are a lot of government plans for dealing with a pandemic but NONE of them tell you as an individual what you can do to take care of yourself and your family - this guide does.

Please pass this on to others.

Posted by: petercarp | April 28, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Reps are at fault, bush caused this because he wanted the news to be about sickness, not about his administration. I think it is from all the pork that the dems put in the spending bills that were passed. Silly, isn't it

Posted by: dy19spider57 | April 28, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Fading fast claims: Most of it [the pandemic preparation stimulus funding] was intended to prepare, warehouse, and distribute vaccine for an avian influenza pandemic, not swine flu.

My response: Regardless of what type of animal incubated the flu, it's human flu now. The avian flu response put many boots on the ground, drugs in the stockpile and plans in place ready to roll out now that they are needed. It's surprising, to say the least, that a "public health professional" would think this was a meaningful distinction. Of course any letter to the Post starting with "As an Obama-supporting..." should be taken with several mg. of NaCl.

Posted by: schmellsangel | April 28, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Mrmcross says:
I am a Democrat and a microbiologist...It is worth noting that earlier funded flu preparedness most likely would have focused on oft-hyped up bird flu, and may have had no effect on the current swine flu strain. Let the attacks on me from all sides begin!

My response: Not an attack, but is this Democratic microbiologist aware that human influenza pandemics historically begin as avian or swine influenza, mix with circulating human strains, and emerge as human pathogens? Do they comprehend the microbiological detail that the flu in the news contains human, swine and avian components? Or the true fact that the bird flu preparations that were funded by the last administration are already paying off in the response to this epidemic? Your response, sir or madam?

Posted by: schmellsangel | April 28, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I see the right wing talking points are trying to re-write history. Did Collins ever get the funding passed. NO! And don't forget that point the Republicans blocked the funding both in the stimulus and as part of normal appropriations. Did she try and split the political baby. YES! She knew because of what she did the money would not be funded. Is she solely to blame, OF COURSE NOT. The other 35 Republicans in the Senate also voted against it per Karl Rove's instructions and they should probably more than Collins be called to task for blocking the funding and the HHS appointments.

An now fake posts are trying to re-write science, also another right wing tactic. Remember these are the very same people who claimed there was no link between CO2 emissions and global warming and opposed any reduction under Bush to be exposed as frauds last week. They knew there was a link and simply took it out of their report and created an official sounding title. This is the same lies.

Posted by: jvbutcher | April 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I believe that what this corrupt government is doing is creating this so called pandemic. Streams of chemicals coming from planes in random areas.. causing immune systems to weaken.... allowing infected vaccines to be given to people unaware .. allowing companies like Baxter to stay in business despite the fact that they have dirty hands..it is all about eliminating some and it is always about MONEY!!!!! Our government is as corrupt as ever. It is time for the American people to take back this country and get rid of this corrupt evil government and start anew!

It is time for the MEDIA MSM to TELL THE TRUTH.. the MSM is not exempt from any of this corruption. I would love to see the world of Journalism become what is should be and to report the TRUTH not distort the facts and STOP supporting the EVIL in Washington. There are only a handful in government that actually care. Message to Media ....think of the American people, think about your families, grand children, their futures.. they will have nothing at all to look forward to with a government that we have now. They will have no future....none of us will.. this government, this administration should be impeached as a whole. DO not play any role in their evil ways. This is your country too... help take it back...show up at Tea Party's and Rallies.. hear the people..come on... we are NOT ALL WRONG... no we were tricked and deceived ... think about it, and then when you stand before the camera.. to hell with what the government wants... take a stand and tell the truth!!! That is how to take back America. Thank you!

Posted by: ConcernedAmerican7 | April 30, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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