It turns out Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) is not just aiding and giving comfort to Delta, but he is doing so with your tax dollars, coming from federal stimulus money passed by Democrats.
As new cases surge up 92% since last week, Texas is not only dealing with the impact of the Delta variant on children but also rising RSV cases. Abbott ordered local officials to STAND DOWN to the virus and just let it rip through their communities. Texas hospitals are quickly becoming overwhelmed to the point of “catastrophe,” according to the state’s largest hospitals, the Texas Tribune reported.
Even if they have space, they often don’t have nursing staff. “Official after official used their strongest descriptions to get the point across to legislators: Hospitalizations are rising too fast for them to keep up with, and it may be too late to do anything about it.”
How to fix this problem in a state known for its sometimes belligerent “independence”?
Federal dollars. Or, rather, MORE federal dollars. Yes, that’s right. Your tax dollars are being used to try to plug the gaping, deliberate hole in Texas, which their governor not only invited, but aided for political purposes.
You see, Texas was already using money from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund medical needs. This is how the red state got through the last wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. The state was managing the federal dollars so hospitals could stay staffed. But then, being run by the sort of independent, privatization happy folks it is, suddenly the state announced it would no longer manage these funds. That would be done by the hospitals themselves, because (you can’t make this stuff up):
“We are not abandoning the people of Texas. … What we’re trying to do is to help make sure those closest and with the best possible solutions to the problems are the ones that are solving those problems,” Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said, trying to defend leaving local authorities and hospitals to “compete” for staff during a surging pandemic.
But now they need healthcare staff desperately. So, more from the Tribune:
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the Department of State Health Services will work to bring nurses from out of state to alleviate the shortage. Hospitals can expect to see additional nurses within the next five days, said Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Who will pay these surging costs? Texas tells hospitals to use the $10.5 billion allotted to Texas in the American Rescue Plan Act, and seek reimbursement from FEMA.
But Kidd and some senators told the hospital leaders Tuesday that cities and counties should dip into their collective $10.5 billion in federal stimulus dollars to pay for additional nurses — and seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some city and county leaders have hesitated to use that money for fear it would reduce their ability to help their communities recover from the pandemic, which is the intent of those funds.
To date, only 56 Texas cities out of 216 have applied for reimbursement through FEMA, Kidd (Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management) said. “It’s crazy to me that these federal dollars are sitting out there and local governments will not pull them down and use them,” he said.
If you’re following along at home, that is: Leave it to locals to sort out the mess you made by refusing to allow locals to mandate any health recommendations made by the federal authorities to mitigate the deadly surge of a variant that was already assisted into existence by your previous said failure to fight virus, but make the federal government pay for your “leave it to locals” abdication of duty with money from an Act no one in your party supported. Phew.
Abbott is sucking money off of work done by Biden, Pelosi and Schumer privately, while publicly penning letters to President Biden telling him that Texas can bring down the price of oil if his administration will just stay out of the way: “Texas can do this,” Abbott wrote. “Our producers can easily produce that oil if your Administration will just stay out of the way.”
Oh? Stay out of the way, as in 10.5 billion dollars out of the way? Nah. Abbott’s just posturing for the Republican base who love a good Big Man fake.
The Delta variant has established that this is a pandemic requiring all of us to do the right things (mask, socially distance, vaccinate). So Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s mandate that local officials cannot follow the guidelines set by the CDC to mitigate spread are not only hurting his own state but indeed the entire country. Not only is he spreading Delta, overwhelming his own state’s hospitals, putting young children who can’t get vaccinated at risk of dying — but he’s also making you pay to stem the bleeding.
So much for the Republican ‘go it alone’ model. The “tough Texan” is nothing but a Big Government Grifter of the highest order – using his own constituents’ lives to fund his political future, and sucking up billions of federal Biden bucks to mitigate the damage caused by his selfishness.
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.