Collins Responds Amid Pandemic Funding Debate
As we mentioned earlier, the recent swine flu outbreak is causing some liberals to go back to the stimulus debate of earlier this year to point out that the Democrats’ push to include hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic research and mitigation funding was thwarted by Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). Now Collins is responding, saying that the implication that she’s against flu funding is “blatantly false and politically motivated.”
From the statement from Collins office, via Politico’s Glenn Thrush:
As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Collins has led hearings on pandemic flu preparedness, worked on “bioshield” legislation and funding, and helped strengthen our nation’s preparedness for a pandemic flu.
Claims that she is opposed to increased funding for pandemic flu research are blatantly false and politically motivated. In fact, in December 2008, Senator Collins joined in a letter to Senate leaders requesting a $905 million increase for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Department of Health and Human Services.
There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds. Senator Collins does, however, believe that it is a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services still do not have top positions filled. She hopes the Senate will move promptly to confirm Governor Sebelius for HHS Secretary.