Republicans for small-headed babies

The latest from the CDC.  I did not realize Zika was actually this bad in the US.  This is real lives being dramatically affected:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the government’s fight against the Zika virus said that “we are now essentially out of money” and warned that the country is “about to see a bunch of kids born with microcephaly” in the coming months.

Friday’s warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden came as lawmakers start to sort out a stopgap government funding bill that is being targeted to also carry long-delayed money to battle Zika.

Zika is spreading more widely in the U.S. and can not only cause microcephaly — in which babies are born with grave brain defects — but other problems that the country will face for decades. And 671 pregnant women in the states and Washington, D.C., have the virus, leading to the birth of 17 babies with microcephaly so far…

President Barack Obama in February requested $1.9 billion to fight Zika, but Republicans controlling Congress acted slowly on the request. A Capitol Hill fight this summer stalled the Zika aid. Republicans attached restrictions on any of the money going to affiliates of Planned Parenthood in Puerto Rico. Democrats objected and blocked the $1.1 billion measure.

And since this is an AP story, you get a nice simple explanation of both-sides mis-behaving.  Republicans did X, Democrats did Y and babies are born with microcephaly.  But if you actually step back and and take a broader look, you can only say, “what the hell, Republicans?”  What exactly does Zika have to do with the Republican’s perpetual bête noire, Planned Parenthood?  Ummm, pretty much nothing.  Just one more chance for Republicans to try and prevent poor women from getting needed reproductive health services.  And, if babies need to be born with microcephaly to make this political point, so be it.

But, you say, Democrats actually “blocked” this according to the story.  Only, of course, after the Republicans added the irrelevant and politically super-contentious Planned Parenthood issue to something that should have strong bipartisan consensus.  There should quite obviously be a simple up or down vote on Zika funding– something that surely would get an easy pass.  There is only one political party that is currently preventing this.  Thus, a little harsh, yes, but the headline of this post is not entirely wrong.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Republicans for small-headed babies

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    It’s so clear that the Republicans put the roadblock in the way of a clean bill for funding Zika virus research. So clear also that this is a purely political dirty trick.
    Does anyone doubt that the GOP will be first to complain about increased Medicaid spending?

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