Pandemic-Preparedness Money Stripped From Stimulus
usatoday.com — Congress stripped nearly $900 million to combat an influenza pandemic from the economic-stimulus package earlier this year as part of last-minute negotiations to gain GOP support for the plan. Now, with the spread of a potentially deadly strain of the swine flu, public-health advocates and liberal bloggers are sharply criticizing the move. Key Democratic lawmakers, including Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, vowed Monday to fight for increased funding in the coming weeks. At the center of the debate: Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who was one of three Republicans to back President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package. She opposed inclusion of the pandemic-preparedness money during a floor debate on the legislation, arguing it would not jump-start the economy.