Republicans in Congress have squandered valuable time arbitrating money to fight the spread of the Zika virus because they have no passion for legislation or government at all.
A government’s chief role is to protect the people it governs. Zika is a civic and moral danger to the United States, and Republicans are playing the Congressional equivalent of the game keep-away. The Zika outbreak is an opportunity for valiant and effective governance, so naturally Republicans are sabotaging it so that Democrats and the government Republicans brainlessly and self-destructively oppose with existential, minority-party careerism don’t look good.
Democrats want a hastily passed bill to protect America’s families from an epidemic of encephalitis-related birth defects. Democrats have been asking for a rider-less bill — as in a bill that doesn’t include the following: a $100 million cut in funding for the simultaneous effort against the spread of ebola, a $500 million cut in Obamacare funding, and the right to fly Confederate flags in veteran cemeteries—but Republicans have not written a clean bill and then accuse Democrats of playing legislative games.
It’s like adding partisan insult to the biological injury of Zika’s recent spread into America by suggesting President Obama should take half a billion dollars out of a program that has colloquially adopted his name if he wants to fulfill the presidential obligation of protecting America.
The stratagem is juvenile, legislative maneuvering, and these legislative middle fingers to Obama are cheaply designed for political propaganda purposes. In forcing Democrats to vote against purposefully insulting Zika bills, the GOP get to blame Democrats for the Zika bill’s tardiness at campaign events. The GOP is stalling in order to have the technically true—but morally wrong—spin to wax poetic about on the campaign trail, before eventually passing a rider-less bill that America’s chief executive will agree to sign into law sometime in the hopefully near future. It is political theatre of the Absurd.
It’s as if Republicans do not want any Zika bill at all because they are willing to waste time trying to extract concessions from Democrats in exchange for the bill’s passage. Don’t they care about protecting America’s babies from encephalitis? Babies with birth defects is just collateral damage for the GOP’s hyper-partisanship. They do not feel responsible for effective governance I suppose.
Republicans do not deserve Congressional majorities. Do not give them any.