Democrats Demand Investigation Into Republican Budget Cuts To Ebola Preparedness

Pelosi and House Democrats

Democrats are asking the right questions and demanding that Republicans hold hearings and investigate whether the CDC and NIH had appropriate funding levels in the areas necessary to combat Ebola.

In a statement, a group of House Democrats said,

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and the other Democratic Members of the Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee in calling for hearings on the funding levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and related agencies in light of the ongoing public health threat posed by the Ebola virus:

As Francis Collins, head of the NIH, said last week: ‘NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, “Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here.” Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.’

….

The Appropriations Committee should return to Washington immediately and convene hearings to discuss and debate the issue of funding levels for NIH, CDC and related agencies in light of the public health challenges posed by the Ebola virus. While it is important that the House Homeland Security and Energy & Commerce committees have held hearings, it is not right that the Appropriations committee has not met in accordance with its responsibilities to fund these critical public health agencies.

While Republicans are busy doing their usual blame Obama thing and the media is whipping up needless hysteria over whether or not Ebola will be invading our homes and killing us all, Democrats are asking the important question. How did we get here?

The answer isn’t what Republicans would like you to believe it is. The lackluster Ebola response is not a byproduct of “bad Obama leadership.” Certain simpletons, we like to call these people Republicans, point to the overall funding levels at the CDC and NIH and proclaim that this is all Obama’s fault. Other media simpletons, including a Pinocchio loving grader at the Washington Post, used a similar argument to get Republicans off the hook.

The problem with only looking at overall funding levels is that it misses the point. Over the last few years, the CDC has had billions of dollars taken out of its budget for infectious disease preparedness at the federal, state, and local levels. This means that the CDC started with fewer resources to work with when the Ebola situation started. There is a reason the Congress rushed through an infusion of cash to fight Ebola before they left town. The CDC budget was left short on preparedness.

It isn’t a black and white situation, but the sequester that Republicans love so much has hurt. The focus should be on congressional Republicans, for one simple reason. The president doesn’t make the budget. Obama can make budgetary recommendations, but at the end of the day, as the old saying goes, the House controls the purse strings.

The talk about Obama’s budget is a smokescreen coming from people who don’t want to discuss the real issue. The important question isn’t did the CDC have enough funding. What needs to be investigated is if the CDC was properly funded in the area of preparedness.

House Republicans love to “investigate” any Obama scandal that Fox News can dream up, but it is a safe bet that they won’t investigate the role that their own budgetary choices played in the current situation.

75 Replies to “Democrats Demand Investigation Into Republican Budget Cuts To Ebola Preparedness”

  1. The TPGOP congressional House members will ignore and if pushed deny the request for any investigation. They have it easy see all of their constituents will believe anything that the TPGOP says as Gospel and what Democratic party members say as Satan spawn lies.

    The only way to stop this insanity is to vote every TPGOP out of any office! So VOTE, tell all you know to VOTE!

  2. As Marsha Marsha Marsha from the state of Tennessee said, “We must secure our southern borders from people coming from Africa.

    I have no snark, no input on the idiocy of teahadist congress to actually debate and have a solution to what to do.

    Maybe the crazies on fox and their dumbasses can come up with something like Gorilla tape. Duct tape is so old

  3. I am so tired of everyone taking a partisan view on this subject. I am a head nurse in one of the biggest hospitals in the midwest and we received no training, no memos, nothing from the CDC prior to the original case in Dallas. Today was the first day training was offered. What happened in Dallas would have happened in my hospital. We do not have the equipment to treat someone with ebola. There is no protocol to dispose of waste. Flu season will soon be upon us. I stay up nights worrying how we will be able to discern between flu symptoms and ebola–virtually the same. Think about an ebola patient presenting to a small community hospital and the CDC’s promise to be on site 24 hours after diagnosis. Hell–diagnosis could take 24 hours. So do we treat every patient who arrives with elevated temp, headaches, etc and who admits to being in Africa in the last 21 days as a potential ebola patient? If health professionals have lost faith in the CDC–and we have–what next?

  4. no comment from the peanut gallery? As devoted progressives–how do you explain throwing the nurses unions under the bus? We are confused by your silence? We are on the front lines, yet you seem willing to go along with the BS that the CDC, the White House and the Senate spouts??? Next time you need an RN–we might have taken your cue and deserted what we thought was our base.

  5. Dumbass please explain who threw the nurses under the bus. Now if your free market masturbation exercise sent this man home because he had no insurance and the bean counters didn’t read what to do with Ebola cases because lord knows a private mean white hospital wouldn’t or couldn’t deal with it exactly what is your point?

  6. You may be a nurse that gives head, but cetrtainly aren’t a head nurse. My ex was, and even in our tiny small town hospital they had protocols on waste and bio hazard removal and de contamination trailers, my company poured the concrete for these units.

  7. How about the head of the CDC, who for days said that the nurse contracted ebola because of breach of protocol? (today he admitted that they still not know how the nurses contracted ebola) and they should have sent personal to train health care workers. Do you really want to blame staff for not receiving training or even a freaking memo from the CDC about Ebola? It’s pretty easy from the outside to assign blame. Deal with a hundred people in the ER– a lot of them non English speaking, sick, bleeding, coughing and car accidents and stroke/heart attack victims arriving non stop–then tell me how the staff could have done better WITH NO FREAKING TRAINING OR EVEN A MEMO FROM THE CDC???

  8. Then why did you sent him home? Do you not read the latest news on what’s happening? Stop with your martyrdom no one is blaming nurses what people are blaming is the for profit of this hospital. Bet you were against the ACA?

  9. BULLSHIT. when I went to the VA a month ago they ask me did I traveled overseas I said no. This hospital was only looking out for their bottom line and it is them who are throwing nurses under the bus to cover their asses. You better wake up

  10. You are right, this should not be a partisan issue. But don’t blame the progressives for this failure to be prepared. As a Head Nurse at your hospital, why have you not taken the initiative to contact the hospital’s infectious diseases specialist or the CDC yourself. You are worried about your lack of training and information maybe the hospital should be making an effort to protect themselves from their apparent lack of proper training, waste disposal protocol and procedures for dealing with this virus. How many years have we known about Ebola, and your hospital isn’t prepared to deal with it?

    We have allowed the Teaparty their smaller government, and given the private sector the opportunity to manage the health care of America and now corporations say the profits aren’t great enough to be ready for the next pandemic. You can’t have it both ways.

  11. Contrary to popular thought–hospitals cannot/do not keep every patient with a temperature–we do not have the staff or space to do this. As for ACA–not my concern. We put every patient first and you sir do not seem to believe that. I have never, ever in 36 years given care based on whether a patient had/didn’t have insurance. Hell, I have traveled to Africa (on my own dime, using my own vacation) for 16 years donating time to Doctors without borders or the mercy ships.

  12. No one is throwing nurses under the bus – who is doing that?

    I appreciate your defense of nurses, but I think you’re going off on the wrong people.

    Simply put, there was a mistake made somewhere. If that wasn’t the case, two nurses would not be fighting the virus right now.

    That is not to say that they are to blame for anything. Most health care workers who get Ebola get it because of a small mistake made with the gear, but no one BLAMES them anymore than anyone is blaming these two nurses. People are human and humans make mistakes.

    I agree that more training is needed, but the CDC did send out Ebola specific guidelines on Aug. 1. At that point, hospitals should’ve done what they could to prepare their nurses and doctors.

    It’s unfortunate that was not done.

    Your beef should be with your hospital, not progressives.

  13. Nurses should take the iniative–when the CDC has been assuring us for months that “we are prepared”. Really??? Why didn’t they come to Texas after the diagnosis? Why wasn’t there someone on the ground in 24 hours? Why aren’t doctors taking some of the heat????? Why don’t you think that the government let us down? Don’t you think that the lives of the two nurses in jeopardy is enough proof that we are devoted to patients regardless of ethnicity, sex or financial circumstances?

  14. If you’re entering information about the patient you’re treating into an electronic database, then you most certainly would know if someone had insurance or not.

    That said, the hospital does need to answer the question as to WHY they sent Mr. Duncan home when he presented with Ebola symptoms and said he just returned from Liberia.

    Every bell and whistle should’ve gone off when he made that statement.

    But he was sent home.

    We can only speculate as to why because so far, the hospital has not provided a satisfactory answer.

  15. For once can politics be put aside and support given to the people who will have to negotiate the muddy waters of “is it ebola or just flu?” (Just flu kills over (100,000 people each year). For once can we all support medical personnel who are on the front lines? Can we agree that the CDC screwed up? Once in a while it would be nice if we could come together for the good of all.. Whether you think so or not—nurses are feeling persecuted. We will be forced to strike, if training and support are not forthcoming. Maybe you don’t care–it sure feels like you don’t give a damn about us.

  16. We do care, and probably don’t appreciate the services nurses provide or how scared you are about dealing with this virus. I imagine it is difficult, and outright scary trying to determine if a patient has the flu or Ebola, and what the stage of the infection are they in, based on their symptoms.

    But, I believe the your employer has a responsibility to prepare staff and have trained personnel available. If not, they should be prepared to turn people away, and direct them to a facility that is prepared. I am not ready to blame the CDC when hospitals should have trained staff available.

    I am not doubting your professionalism, or lack of experience, just where you are laying the blame for nurses becoming infected. Besides, there are so many ways a nurse can become infected, initial contact, inadequate PPE or improper removal and handling of exposed PPE.

    Thank you for your sacrifices, and courage to deal with this difficult time. Be prepared and vigilant.

  17. As an RN have you ever heard the term “Treat ’em and street ’em” and do you deny that it is commonly applied to patients with no health insurance?

    If you deny this ask yourself who has their head buried in the sand.

  18. In what world do you think that RN’s have any say about who is admitted, when they are released or what treatment they receive??? We work for the doctors and hospital who work for the insurance companies–including medicare, medicaid, ACA.

  19. My point exactly. Who here has blamed the nurses?

    As long as the nurses’ hands are tied by administrative bean counters how can they be properly equipped and trained or allowed to effectively treat patients?

    You can bet your bottom dollar that no upper administrative official will lose their job over this but I wouldn’t place the same odds on the employees, especially if they belong to a union.

  20. The CDC budget was left short on preparedness.
    ~~~~~

    Every private sector company knows the difference between “must”, “should”, and “may” in budget prioritizing.
    “Must” are the things that have to be there for the company/system to keep functioning, “should” are the things that will make the system function better but could be dispensed with, and “may” are things that are genuinely optional. It’s jargon with a purpose: to explicitly list all relative priorities.
    It is a sign of bad management when an organization does not/ can not set proper priorities.

    But, otoh, I’m definitely relieved the CDC found enough in their budget for that $2.4M project to develop *origami* condoms and that the NIH had $592K to spare so we could finally answer the pressing question of why chimps throw shit.

    The waste and mismanagement at the CDC and NIH have undermined an ebola vaccine much more effectively than any budget reduction.

    cont. (in a minute)

  21. The CBO report from 2011 states NIH’s funding “has grown significantly over the past 15 years,” (including a $10B increase solely from the 2009 economic stimulus plan) and had the agency recommending a cut in NIH’s funding, citing a 2009 GAO report that “found gaps in NIH’s ability” to keep tabs on what happened to its outgoing grant money. (That problem is SURELY under control by now, right?)

    The CBO states:
    “Some costs could probably be reduced or eliminated, without harming high-priority research.”

    and the CBO goes on to say:

    spending by NIH nearly tripled from 1997 to 2010.
    “With such a broad range of personnel and activities and a large increase in funding, inefficiencies and duplicative or
    wasteful efforts are likely.”

    I hope the Minority Leader gets her hearings.
    Watching a bunch of bureaucrats ‘splain their budget allocations and expenditures on C-Span to American families will be an absolute hoot.

  22. Until there is something done with the political corruption in Africa it will not change.The leaders get money from mining companies and it only goes into the leaders pockets.
    They are countries that still practice slavery
    If the democrats were really interested in solving the problem there would be strict guidelines on where the money goes and used for.
    That has become the same problem here.Why have the Democrats been in control for 6 years plus and they just decide to do something about it.
    There has been a lot of American politicians that fill their pockets too.

  23. “I am so tired of everyone taking a partisan view on this subject.”
    “As devoted progressives–how do you explain throwing the nurses unions under the bus? We are confused by your silence? We are on the front lines, yet you seem willing to go along with the BS that the CDC, the White House and the Senate spouts???”

    You contradict yourself. On one hand you say you are tired of the partisanship and on the other you lash out at progressives and two parts of government controlled by Democrats as well as the CDC. Nowhere in your rant do you mention The House Of Representatives who actually control the purse strings, but which ironically is controlled by Republicans. I find this very odd at best.

  24. If you’d like everyone to put aside politics, you should start doing that as well. Just a few posts up, you were denigrating progressives.

  25. Ebola In Ohio: Gov. Kasich Appointed Unqualified Crony To Run Public Health Department

    Ohio law requires that the head of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the agency responsible for managing public health emergencies, be either a “physician holding the degree of doctor of medicine” or an “individual who has had significant experience in the public health profession.” But as we reported in early August, Governor John Kasich recently ousted Medical Doctor Ted Wymyslo as head of the ODH, replacing him with Rick Hodges, a former Republican state rep and lobbyist who is neither a medical doctor nor an expert in public health.

    http://www.plunderbund.com/2014/10/16/can-kasichs-unqualified-health-director-save-ohio-from-the-ebola-crisis/

  26. This is what government looks like after you drown it in a bathtub.

    My husband has been in and out of hospitals for 3 years with chronic issues. We’ve been bounced out of ERs (he has long hair) discharged from hospitals by off-the-cuff McDoctors, forced through pain med withdrawal by DEA sycophants eager to kiss administrative ass and tortured by ‘protocols.’

    Cost cuts kill. Government is NOT about the economy. It’s about providing education and infrastructure for citizens.

    Capitalism demands trained drones, not educated professionals. What we have here is the result of government allowing the invisible hand of the market place to pick our collective pockets. Just like Paine warned.

  27. Why did Obama send 4000 US combat Troops in a Ebola Hot Zone? Our troops are being housed in hotels, not infection control sites. They are living like Lab Rats in a cease pool of diseases. Have they gone mad?

  28. Hey dumbass they are engineers to build facilities they are not combat troops. Put the call of duty video game down for a change

  29. The CDC Guidelines stressed that workers needed only an impermeable gown, single pair of gloves, a face mask and goggles to safely treat ebola patient. Early this week they changed recommendations and ordered health care workers treating ebola to wear hoods that cover necks, 2 pair of gloves. The gloves and hood are to be securely taped to the hazmat suit. The 4 biocontainment facilities in Neb. Montana, Mayland and Georgia, as well as the Doctors without borders currently in Liberia, all follow the latest guidelines–why wasn’t that the original recommendation from the CDC? Can you comprehend why nurses are upset–the nurses in Texas followed the CDC Guidelines–which ultimately proved inadequate then spent three days blaming them for not following protocol???

  30. Again no one is blaming the nurses. Who I blame is governors who didn’t expand Medicaid and the for profit hospital who kicked him out because he had no insurance. No where I or this site blamed the nurses

  31. why can’t you admit that the CDC screwed up and 2 nurse’s lives are in jeopardy. Maybe you didn’t hear non stop all weekend that they had not followed protocol? Well yes they did, but the CDC was wrong—a gown, 1 pair of gloves, a hood and facemask were not enough???? The CDC screwed up big time and yet you’re willing to give them a pass. Yes I do believe that you have virtually no chance of contracting ebola, but as for nurses—we are not so sure. How do we trust a CDC, who are the authority for contageous diseases, when they get it so wrong?

  32. There is no date on these guidelines but from reading it, it was before the first case was diagnosed.
    http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/hospital-checklist-ebola-preparedness.pdf

    Now are you saying you didn’t read it or did it go into the trashcan. You act like this is the first time you ever heard of Ebola and I have no control of what the media reports. Methinks that the hospital put that bullshit of blaming the nurses out there to cover their own asses for the negligence that they exhibited.

  33. Well yes those guidelines were before the first case–the CDC is supposed to be the authority on contageous diseases–so who are medical personnel supposed to believe? Wouldn’t it be wise to follow the protocol of the CDC who are the supposed experts on contageous diseases? If the CDC aren’t the authority, why fund them at all? Why are you trying to deflect blame when the CDC has admitted they screwed up?

  34. I am not trying to deflect blame other than the state of Texas in denying health insurance for people. So my question is why didn’t the hospital follow the guidelines?

    Look I know from being in the hospital for shit that damn near killed me it was the nurses that took care of me. It was the ER nurses that bagged me because I couldn’t breathe. I have all the love in the world for what they do. After I recovered from my last episode I baked them cheesecakes as a small token for what they did.

    You are arguing the wrong point IMO no one is saying its the Nurses fault. So you should be pissed at the administration of that hospital, Gov. Good hair and republican policies that don’t believe in science

  35. thank you for your words of encouragement. We are afraid. No one seems to know a damn thing on how to safely treat ebola. Statistics show that health care workers are contacting the disease everywhere, and yet no one has answers to exactly why? If the borders remain open how do we discern who has ebola/ who has flu in the midst of flu season. Do we wear hazmat everytime someone appears in the ER with flu symptoms? I am a lifetime liberal, a union member for my entire working life–yet feel like my own party will dessert me to prove a political point–that the government is infallible. Someone screwed up and it sure looks like it was the CDC–who are the government appointed experts on contageous diseases. Again, why isn’t anyone willing to say the CDC screwed up?

  36. Lifetime liberal here. Marched in Selma in my youth. You will find that most medical people resent the fact that the ACA was written with no input from nurses/physicians who are on the ground. None the less we all believe that everyone deserves good health care.

  37. I work in Illinois and medicaid owes mil lions and millions and millions to hospitals. Do you really believe that living and working in Illinois, a medicaid state, means that you will recieve better care than Texas? We are very concerned in Illinois that we will receive any part of our pension. It seems like the money collected has been spent elsewhere. It also appears that living in a “medicaid” state insures that patients will have a good deal–at the expense of the health care workers. Once again, we seem to be easy targets.

  38. Hoe many Ebola cases were in Illinois? I was born raised in Chicago so I know about the combine. While this have nothing to do with your pensions, which I am just as pissed that they pull a three card Monte what does that have to do with your original argument?

  39. You called me a dumb ass and insinuated that a medicaid “state” would have done better with an ebola patient. Medicaid does not automatically lead to superior care. I doubt, highly, that a patient with ebola would have been treated any differently in Illinois, than he was in Texas. We received no training before yesterday. The CDC, the government expert on infectious diseases, was caught with it’s pants down and issued bad information to hospitals across the US on how to care for an ebola patient. Health care workers are paying the price. You are either too partisan or too stupid to see that we have all been duped–especially those on the front line. We follow CDC guidelines and then later find out that they goofed.

  40. I think most people agree that the VA is totally mismanaged. Your treatment at the VA has absolutely nothing to do with intake at an ER. The VA is a mess, pure and simple. I am a veteran, who has had jungle rot for over 35 years, and still wasn’t able to receive care at the local VA hospital–the only facility that has an inkling on how to treat me. What a nightmare government healthcare is????? Still wondering who gives a damn?

  41. to the dumbass who doubts that ebola lives in the sperm of “cured” ebola patients—try it out and see how you fare?????

  42. to all those who do not think that health professional put patients first. Wear a sign the next time you come to ER. We’ll know who to put at the back of the list.

  43. Listen. You couldnt get help at a VA facility? Really? Lie # 57

    Complete bullshit. Jungle rot is easy enough to fix and you dont need the VA to do it.

    As I read over your posts, you have been everywhere, done everything someone brings up and frankly I think you are full of bullshit. Go find someone else to cry on.

  44. Nurses and those with families are more are more and more refusing to serve potential or ebola patients.. Since ebola currently has a 70% mortality rate I can understand their stance. Why should we put our lives on the line for a public that thinks we are dumbasses or idiots?

  45. to all those who think that Rn’s are partisan–declare that when you appear at the ER!!!. We would love to know your poor opinion of us!!!!

  46. Anyone who has seen any coverage of the Ebola epidemics in Africa surely knows that the CDC PPE guidelines were wrong. A medically trained and educated person with common sense could easily google Ebola and read how it is spread by contact with bodily fluids, i.e. vomit, feces, sweat, urine, blood. This same person could deduce that the CDC PPE guidelines were completely inadequate.

  47. Jungle rot for 30 years. So far, no cure for me. Let’s compare stories… I have it in my forearms and my butt.. How did you contract it it and what are you using to obliterate it. My Doc at the VA says I will live with it my whole life???

  48. WOW. I’m surprised the many good people her bothered to give you a reply. Your own arguments fold back upon one another: We don’t teach nurses pathogen control, silly POLITICUS readers! (Especially not those DWB ones)! There’s never drills in your home towns they rave about on the news? “Waaahhhhh, you’re picking on nurses and concern trolls”.

  49. Really… I find that an interesting claim since we were able to spend:
    $386,000 -Massage in Rabbits
    $483,000 -Role of breathing in meditation
    $1,158,000 -Losing weight thru meditation
    $134,000 -Dismantling mindfulness, contribution of attention vs acceptance
    $320,000 -Mechanics of meditation
    $108,790 -Integral yoga on hot flashes
    $30,420 -Acupuncture in the treatment of hot flashes
    $400,680 -Nonspecific effects of Acupuncture in the treatment of hot flashes
    $484,260 -Hypnosis for hot flashes
    $357,577 -Slow paced breathing for the treatment of hot flashes
    $131,895 -Placebo effect of Acupuncture: Hot flashes as a clinical model
    $313,706 -Massage therapy for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder
    $714,734 -Dosing study of massage for neck pain

    I maintain, without the budget cuts they most likely would have simply wasted more money and still not had a working vaccine.

  50. …I’m a Navy vet, and depend on the VA…the working staff at our VA has my utmost respect…the brass I’m less sure about…the Teahadists now need to be held accountable for their budget cuts, sequestering games, shutdown and other ploys whose ONLY purpose is to give MORE tax cuts to the 1%, and corporate welfare…those with neither hearts nor brains need to get their asses kicked so hard they turn into hunchbacks…then hand ’em a bell and throw ’em out…

  51. However, our top public officials have apparently collected $25 million dollars over the past seven years and are now pointing the finger at the Obama administration for not rushing to their financial defense.
    Stop the blame game and do something. These people have plenty of money to deal with this. Now what they need is some REASON to deal with it.

    You and I and all U.S. taxpayers have given the Center for Disease Control $6 billion in salaries and $25 million in bonuses to a very specific body of health care specialists since 2007.

    The CDC’s irresponsibility in blaming the government comes from a data compilation by American Transparency’s OpenTheBooks.

  52. 36,000 die from the flu. Obesity kills 120,000+ each year, 480,000 die from tobacco each year, 11,000 people die each year from gun violence. When you have a clue maybe then you can ask a legitimate question

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