Posted by Curt on 4 August, 2016 at 4:26 pm. 35 comments already!


Alexandra DeSanctis:

While campaigning in Florida on Tuesday, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine attacked congressional Republicans for failing to pass a funding bill that would have directed $1.1 billion toward research to treat and prevent the Zika virus.

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

Kaine . . . called for federal action on fighting the Zika virus, which officials on Monday said had reached South Florida via mosquitoes.

Kaine said Congress should pass a $1.1 billion bill to combat Zika without what he called the “poison pill” of anti-abortion language added by House Republicans.

“Congress should not be in recess when Zika is advancing,” he said.

In reality, it was Senate Democrats who refused to pass the bill, and there’s no “poison pill” to be found anywhere inside it. Instead, the Democratic leadership is balking because the bill does not specifically earmark a portion of funding for Planned Parenthood.

While most of the funding outlined in the bill would go to mosquito prevention and vaccine research, a small segment is dedicated to public-health efforts. According to Don Stewart, deputy chief of staff for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democrats chose to block the entire bill because none of this small portion was earmarked for Planned Parenthood.

“The conference committee increased health-care block-grant funding and provided guidance on who could receive the funding,” Stewart tells National Review. “Planned Parenthood was not listed as a potential recipient, and Democrats want them to be explicitly listed as a recipient — even though the president’s initial request didn’t ask for any.”

Senate Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer held a press conference attempting to explain their decision shortly after leading an effort to kill the bill.

Reid claimed that women would have nowhere to go to obtain birth control under the bill, but, in fact, nothing in the legislation would cut any federal funding currently going to Planned Parenthood. It simply does not add more funding in the context of treating Zika.

Planned Parenthood’s executive director, Dawn Laguens, spoke alongside Reid and Schumer, implying that it is more important for Planned Parenthood to receive direct funding under the bill than it is to pass a bill quickly.

A letter from Planned Parenthood to the Senate offices prior to the most recent vote stated that “a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care.” But a vote against the bill is actually vote against women’s health care, particularly if the women in question have contracted the Zika virus. And, even from the perspective of Senate Democrats, there is no rational objection to the bill given that Planned Parenthood still would receive as much federal funding as it did before the Zika virus became an issue.

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