There were many things they tried to strip from the stimulis bill before it was passed. One of the important parts, one that we find out is very important, that they did suceed in stripping from the bill was for flu pandemic preparedness.
From Alter Net:
Republican politicking continues to put the whole nation at risk.
Remember way back in the day, President Obama delivered his Not Really The State Of The Union address, and the GOP trotted out Future Of The Republican Party Supra-Genius Bobbly Jindal to provide a rebuttal? Well, we all had some laughs, didn't we? Mainly because Jindal was all: "They want to spend stimulus money on volcano monitoring? Why everyone knows that the Hill Witch keeps tabs on our volcanoes by floating chicken bones in her own intestinal ichor!" And then Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted, suggesting there might be something to this "let's monitor volcanoes with government-funded science" idea.
Well, as it turns out, volcano monitoring wasn't the only worthwhile public safety program that was deemed extravagant in the stimulus package, funding for pandemic preparation was axed as well. And playing a critical role was Susan Collins -- for whom the necessity of obtaining her vote is in inverse proportion to the intelligence she shows in policy making:
Famously, Maine Senator Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: "Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not."
Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate's version of the stimulus measure.
Naturally, it's tough to keep an economy stimulated if productivity gets diminished by a pandemic. And, hey, it turns out that the lack of a stable and well-funded public health infrastructure may not be so good for economic recovery as a whole:
On Monday, the question began to be answered, as Associated Press reported -- under the headline: "World Markets Struck By Swine Flu Fears" -- that: "World stock markets fell Monday as investors worried that a deadly outbreak of swine flu in Mexico could go global and derail any global economic recovery."
Before U.S. markets opened, the Wall Street Journal reported: "U.S. stock futures fell sharply Monday as the outbreak of deadly swine flu stoked fears that a possible recovery in the global economy could be derailed."
All of this is playing out at a time when HHS nominee sits on the sidelines, her nomination held up at the behest of pro-life organizations who want to paint her as the "Abortion Queen." The hold up is pointless - merely delaying the inevitable for "another week." Maybe the swine flu would be good enough to wait!