Republicans have their constituents pretty well snowed into thinking that they are the party of family values and fiscal responsibility. Under the guise of these values, the GOP claims to protect, the traditional family, the right to bear arms and so-called religious liberties all of which come at a heavy price for women, immigrants, indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ and any foreign country that has resources. The list of those who suffer from so-called Republican values goes on and on while the beneficiaries are mostly straight, white, affluent Christian men some of whom enjoy sizable tax breaks for which the rest of us have to compensate.
The GOP even has the gall to call itself pro-life, yet when it comes to spending money to improve, protect or preserve life, they notoriously vote against such efforts. One of the most recent exposures of the GOP’s pro-life pretense is their refusal to approve funds to help fight Zika. Earlier this month, Sen. John Cornyn, the number two Senate Republican from Texas, dismissed President Obama’s $1.9 billion funding request to research and combat Zika calling it a “blank check” that would allow him to divert funds to agencies outside of the Zika virus efforts, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Cornyn further signaled that he was opposed to any other new funding to fight the disease that didn’t go through the regular appropriations process.
While Democrats insist that it would be dangerous for Congress not to act quickly to fight this disease and to protect Americans, it is clear that Republicans don’t think it’s an emergency. In a blasé manner, Republicans have cited to the $500 million President Obama has already diverted from funds for Ebola research as being adequate to fund the fight against Zika. However, health officials insist this won’t be enough to fight the spread of mosquitoes that transmit the virus, develop a vaccine and help other countries battle Zika.
Zika can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is far smaller than normal. It can also cause severe developmental disorders and stillbirth. Nonetheless, the Republicans are refusing aid for the fight against this virus that “has infected nearly 700 Americans in 40 states, Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories, including more than 65 pregnant women,” according to a letter from more than 40 Democrats addressed to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky).
By no stretch of the imagination is this the first time that Republicans have blocked or attempted to block funding intended for the well-being of American Children and families. Recently, Senate Republicans attempted to block funding that would provide relief for the poisoned children of Flint, Michigan who have suffered immensely because of the catastrophic decisions and austerity measures imposed by their Republican Governor, Rick Snyder. By contrast, when money is needed to fund a war, give military aid to brutal foreign regimes or when the very rich are in need of tax breaks, the GOP seems to find money in the budget with little hesitation. When poor and working class families and their children need funding, however, Republicans are suddenly “fiscal conservatives” and let’s not forget, “pro-family values” and “pro-life.”
Featured image via video screen capture
Athena is passionate about human and civil rights and social justice. She is an attorney and an activist by background and in the past has been an adjunct instructor as well as a writer.