Cory Gardner takes time from his busy campaign schedule to do some Ebola fearmongering.
Testimony from public health officials in the Senate a few weeks ago and subsequent media follow up has pointed out a serious deficit for public health funding. In fact, NIH Director Francis Collins said, point blank
"if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready." These reports led House Democrats to call for a hearing on the lack of funding for the Ebola crisis
"As we mourn the death of Thomas Eric Duncan and pray for the two health care workers infected in Dallas, we reiterate our call for Chairman [Jack] Kingston to convene our subcommittee immediately," Democrats on the House Appropriations Health subcommittee said in a joint statement. […]
"The Homeland Security Committee met nearly two weeks ago, and an Energy and Commerce subcommittee will meet tomorrow. For our subcommittee, the one in charge of funding the NIH and CDC, to continue to shirk its responsibility and go without so much as a hearing is unacceptable,” they said in their statement Wednesday.
Kingston, the first GOP lawmaker to call for an "Ebola czar"
obviously has refused to hold that hearing or say why. The spokesperson for the committee said simply that the
Committee currently has no hearings scheduled as the Congress is in recess."
Recess can be interrupted, however, for the Energy and Commerce Health Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as the Democrats noted. That's because that hearing is about "Ebola outrage," in which "CDC Director Thomas Frieden will likely face a series of tough questions." They'll also grill NIH infectious disease director Anthony Fauci and officials from Texas Presbyterian Hospital, where two nurses have contracted the disease after treating Duncan. There's always time for bashing the Obama administration for House Republicans.
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The hearing will at least provide the opportunity to committee Democrats to ask about funding levels for the agencies, but the intent of this hearing is clearly political—Obama administration bashing. Doubt that? "Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, who is locked in a competitive race for the Senate against Democratic Senator Mark Udall, will travel back to Washington on Thursday to attend the hearing."