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Political Pandemic: While Obey Acts, Collins Spins

April 27, 2009
by John Nichols
The Nation

House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat whose attempt to secure needed funding for pandemic preparedness was blocked earlier this year after Senate Republicans ridiculed the request, says the U.S. remains unprepared to address a serious public health emergency.

So Obey, who has battled Republicans and Democrats in his long struggle to secure adequate resources to prepare for a global pandemic, will try again to secure the needed money...

According toTrust for America's Health, which advocates for pandemic preparedness, "State and local officials are the front line responders to outbreaks, yet they have not received any federal funding for pandemic flu preparedness since FY 2006. $350 million is needed annually to adequately maintain state and local pandemic preparedness activities."

But that, say experts, is merely a "baseline," not enough money to do all that would be necessary.

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