President Barack Obama and his Democrat legislative allies like Sen. Patty Murray torpedoed efforts to provide additional funding to combat the Zika virus before Congress adjourned for summer recess last month. The liberals complained that even though both the Republican-controlled House and Senate had passed bills to provide funding as the President demanded, it wasn’t the bill they liked. Even in the face of a disease outbreak, evidently compromise with the other party is not acceptable when there are political points to be scored.
That’s the analysis from Roll Call this morning, which points out that rather than complain about Republican efforts to offset new spending with other budget cuts, the administration has access “to $385 million” in an account it used to fund anti-Zika efforts earlier this year, and that “the administration does not need congressional approval to decide how to spend the money.”
That leaves the White House “struggling to explain why it is pressing Congress for more money to fight the Zika virus while sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars that it already controls and could be used instead.”
Of course, instead of admitting Obama had funds available to deal with the crisis, a presidential spokesman went on the attack, “The keys here are sitting with Congress, and they have to turn them to unleash more federal funding,” he said. That’s because the administration’s motto appears to be an old one – “never let a good crisis go to waste” – so there is no urgency to deal with Zika when it can use the funding battle to attack Republicans instead.