This is that time that Republicans stopped Americans from getting protection from the Zika virus because they feel they must first have the right to fly the Confederate flag over cemeteries.
I wish I were kidding. But behold. Yesterday, Senator Harry Reid excoriated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his cowardice after McConnell stabbed the American people in the back by allowing House Republicans to ruin the bipartisan MilCon-VA-Zika conference report.
You see, after Senate Republicans and Democrats hashed out a compromise on Zika funding that was less than what scientists asked for and thus less than what Democrats wanted but more than Republicans wanted, they sent that to the House. What came back?
Oh, sorry an American died from Zika and so sorry to the nearly 3,700 people in the U.S. (and territories) who have it, but Republicans will only fund the Zika emergency if they can fly the Confederate flag, create more abortions by refusing to fund birth control provided by Planned Parenthood, poison more water by exempting pesticides from the Clean Water Act, cut veterans funding and more.
Reid charged that due to the Republican provisions, the report now:
It restricts funding for birth control provided by Planned Parenthood.
It exempts pesticide spraying from the Clean Water Act.
It cuts veterans’ funding by $500 million below the Senate bill.
It cuts Ebola funding by $107 million.
It rescinds $543 million from Obamacare.
It strikes a prohibition on displaying the Confederate flag that was in the House bill.
You might be worried because seven babies have been born in the US with birth defects caused by Zika. But, sorry pregnant ladies whose labs came back with evidence of Zika virus infection (as of June 30, the CDC stats are 320 women in the US States and DC and 279 in territories) — the “pro-life” Republicans must be allowed to fly the Confederate flag and they feel that is more important than your baby.
Senator Reid was pretty incensed that a health emergency is being held up over the Confederate flag, veterans’ funding, Planned Parenthood, and Obamacare. He said that Democrats wouldn’t bother voting for something the President wouldn’t sign, and “The only way to do that is to pass the Senate compromise as a stand-alone bill. And that is precisely what we Democrats are proposing.”
Reid continued, “It’s too bad but the House says we can’t do that unless we have that Confederate flag flying over cemeteries, stop people from going to Planned Parenthood, take money from Ebola, which everyone says we need to stay on top of. We take $500 million away from veterans processing claims.”
This is your current Republican-led Congress. Mitch McConnell is trying to spin this as Democrats won’t pass a Zika bill, but in reality Republicans are once again holding the nation hostage in order to enact their extremist agenda in the most cowardly way possible, by attaching it to emergency funding.
Republicans are placing their need to create more abortions and fly the Confederate flag over the health of American babies. That sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous. In case you’re hoping this is a one-off, nope. Republicans have embarrassed themselves before with their efforts to protect the Confederate flag.
Republicans are naturally blaming Democrats for this failure, and it’s only a matter of time before Donald Trump proves his ignorance about government once again by blaming Hillary Clinton and President Obama for the Zika virus spreading. Start the countdown.
Image: Jason Miczek/Reuters
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.