While Democrats filibuster funding for Zika virus prevention and treatment, the mosquitos carrying this disease continue to proliferate.
This issue is perhaps the saddest chapter in the sorry history of our Congress that has rightfully earned that branch of government a 4% approval rating. The partisan divide between our two political parties has grown so deep that even the prevention of newborns with encephalopathy isn’t enough to bring them together.
I wrote about this issue earlier (Zika Virus and Democratic Politics) but unfortunately the issue is still not resolved. To make matters worse, Democratic Senatorial candidate Patrick Murphy is trying to gain an edge over his rival, incumbent Senator Marco Rubio by misrepresenting Rubio’s position on the issue.
Let’s review the sordid history of this legislation. A Zika funding bill passed the Senate 89-8 in May, with the support of every Democrat – but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid ambushed the House-Senate compromise conference report, which passed the House but could not be amended.
According to The Wall Street Journal editorial board, Reid has falsely claimed that the bill “bans” Zika money from flowing to Planned Parenthood and its ProFamilias affiliate in Puerto Rico. They say, “This is a transparent falsehood that even the dumbest Democrats aren’t dumb enough to believe.”
They explain the legislative text appropriates block grants “for health services provided by public health departments, hospitals, or reimbursed through public health plans.” The notional basis for the democratic opposition is that it does not specifically single out Planned Parenthood and ProFamilias as grant recipients. Congress isn’t banning anything.
The editorial board opines that the intended beneficiary of this deception is Murphy, since he is in a tight race with Rubio and Floridians are impacted heavily by the Zika Virus issue. Murphy says, “We can’t keep putting ideology above the health and safety of Florida families.”
But here’s the real deception – Rubio voted for the bill to boost Zika funding! Murphy voted against the bill in the House! Florida’s other Senator, Bill Nelson, joined the filibuster in the Senate.
In other words it is the Democrats in the Senate and the House who are holding up the Zika funding! It is their ideology (the love of all things Planned Parenthood does) that is falsely holding up this legislation. Once again, the WSJ editorial board:
“As for ideology, Democrats are holding up everything else in the bill – from Zika vaccine development to mosquito eradication – over a phantom affront to the abortion lobby. Do the goddesses of Planned Parenthood now have to be cited, if not exalted, in every bill as a precondition for passage?”
Furthermore, Naral Pro-Choice America (a strong proponent of abortion) is now running a false advertisement in the Florida market that claims Rubio “voted against funding health clinics that provide critical care during this public health emergency.”
But the truth is actually just the opposite. Murphy is the one who voted it down.
It seems that Murphy is becoming desperate. A June investigation by the local Miami CBS station caught Mr. Murphy embellishing his resume, including inventing tales about being a small business owner and CPA. Senator Reid is well-known for his distortions of the truth and unfortunately Murphy seems willing to go along with this charade. But pregnant women deserve better treatment from their representatives.