With more Zika cases popping up in the United States and Congress on its summer break, Senate Democrats are scrambling to ensure they are not blamed for their decision to choose Planned Parenthood and extraneous environmental regulations over public health.
Democrats have shown they will do anything to show support for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, and they did just that when they blocked a $1.1 billion GOP bill that would have aided efforts to fight the Zika virus, in part because Planned Parenthood would receive no specific additional taxpayer funding from the measure.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) June 29, 2016
“The ‘Bring Congress Back’ calls from Democrats are in full swing,” reports Politico.
A letter signed by 40 Senate Democrats was sent to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, urging the leaders to call Congress back into session in order to pass a measure to deal with the Zika crisis.
The Democrat senators write:
The problems the American people confront do not disappear simply because Congress does. In the case of the rapidly expanding Zika crisis, the problem has grown significantly worse since the Republican-led Congress went on recess. We urge you to immediately cancel the remainder of the congressional recess and get back to work to help the American public, especially women and families, amidst this crisis.
Now, as emerging cases of Zika have been reported in Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning for pregnant women planning to travel to a certain area in Miami, Democrats are pointing fingers at Republicans to avoid being blamed for their filibuster of the anti-Zika funding measure.
“It is simply unacceptable that efforts to counter the spread of Zika and develop a vaccine are being held hostage by Republican partisanship,” the Democrats wrote. “Americans expect Congress to do its job.”
Planned Parenthood is doing their part to help the Democrats’ narrative:
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) August 7, 2016
However, Republican leaders are fighting back.
“While the House passed the funding bill already, it continues to be blocked by the signatories of the Senate Democrats’ letter through the use of a filibuster,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. “We would love for the people who wrote the letter to end that filibuster and pass the bill, but it doesn’t sound like they’re prepared to do that. Apparently, Senate Democrats thought an earmark for Planned Parenthood in the future was more important than preventing the threat of Zika now.”
In an op-ed at USA Today, Ryan shot back:
Unfortunately, when this plan went to the Senate for a vote, Democrats derailed it. This was despite months of calling for action, and even voting in favor of that exact funding level just weeks prior. They blocked our plan not once, but twice — a blatant ploy in an election year. Because of their actions, this funding is in limbo. It shouldn’t be.
Though very little is actually known about the mosquito-borne Zika virus and its effects on unborn babies, Planned Parenthood has waged a massive birth control and abortion campaign – particularly in some Latin American countries where abortion is currently illegal – and insisted that its abortion business should take the lead in the effort.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) May 2, 2016
Ryan, however, points to another significant layer of the problem emanating from the White House:
Back in February, we urged the Obama administration to jumpstart this effort with existing resources. Eventually, officials came back to us and agreed to utilize $589 million, much of it already in the pipeline for Ebola response that could be easily re-directed. Yet to this day, hundreds of millions of dollars remain unspent. This is allocated money that the administration fully controls — money it seemingly refuses to spend.
Despite the availability of the unspent money from the Ebola scare, the Obama administration pushed for a $1.9 billion anti-Zika measure.
“Congress must offset funds used to combat Zika,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told The Daily Signal. “We also have time, clearly, since the Obama administration has failed to actually spend most of the funds that were allocated to fight the virus.”
Similarly, back in July, House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said, according to The Hill, “They’ve spent $90 million. They’ve got $500 million lying there of that money. I don’t know what’s going on down there. They’ve got the money and they won’t spend it. My question is why.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration is exploiting the Zika virus for Democrats’ perceived political gain.
“Democrats are calling Republicans obstructionists in hopes that frustration with government and an anti-Trump wave will deliver them the Senate and perhaps even the House in November,” WSJ writes. “But the root cause of Washington’s Zika pathology is Democrats who are exploiting the virus to score political points.”