Ernst Voted to Cripple CDC Officials

Matt Sinovic matt@progressiowa.org

Ability to Detect, Prevent, and Respond to Pandemics and Other Public Health Emergencies

New Ad: Senator Joni Ernst Voted to Cripple CDC Officials’ Ability to Detect, Prevent, and Respond to Pandemics and Other Public Health Emergencies

Ernst voted to eliminate the CDC’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which could have helped the US combat the coronavirus pandemic

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Forward is airing a new series of ads to hold Senator Joni Ernst accountable for her votes against the health and safety of Iowans — especially during a public health crisis like this one.

The first ad, airing today, is titled Here We Are and is being co-released with Progress Iowa. It highlights Senator Ernst’s vote to eliminate the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. According to the CDC, if she had gotten her way, this would “cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent, and respond to health threats including pandemic flu.”

Dr. Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease physician from Fort Dodge, Iowa said, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays a critical role in our nation’s pandemic response, and in our day-to-day public health. From providing guidance for medical professionals to instructing the public on personal safety measures, our communities are better equipped to handle this coronavirus crisis because of the work done by the CDC. The work of the CDC should be at the forefront of our elected officials’ minds when they are making budget decisions. Eliminating, or even attempting to eliminate, these appropriations is irresponsible for our public health.”

“Iowans deserve to know the implications of the appalling votes that Senator Ernst has cast,” said Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic. “We urge Iowans to call on Senator Ernst to stop putting people at risk with these reckless votes, especially during a global pandemic. She should start putting Iowans ahead of special interests.”

“The health and safety of Iowans depends on us having every necessary tool at our disposal to fight this global pandemic,” said Iowa Forward Spokesperson Mazie Stilwell. “Senator Ernst voted against funds targeted for this purpose and put Iowans in harm’s way — and left us ill-equipped to deal with the current public health emergency that has claimed 578 Iowa lives to date, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Iowans deserve to know when their senator is voting against their best interest, especially when so many lives are on the line.”

The ad’s script is as follows:

Narrator: In 2017, U.S. health experts conducted a simulation and determined we were not ready for a pandemic like the coronavirus. What did Joni Ernst do? Joni Ernst voted to eliminate the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Eliminate it. Joni Ernst voted to cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent, and respond to pandemics. If she had her way, this would be even worse. Tell Joni Ernst to stop putting people at risk.

BACKGROUND

New York Times: “In January 2017, outgoing Obama administration officials ran an extensive exercise on responding to a pandemic for incoming senior officials of the Trump administration.” “Government exercises, including one last year, made clear that the U.S. was not ready for a pandemic like the coronavirus. But little was done.” [NYT, 3/19/20]

Poitico: Pandemic Simulation Exercises Conducted During Administration Transition Did Not Lead to More Preparedness.

“Obama aides, in op-eds and essays ripping the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, have pointed to the Jan. 13, 2017, session as a key example of their effort to press the importance of pandemic preparedness to their successors. . . . Obama aides say the Trump administration’s fumbling of the coronavirus outbreak is partly rooted in how unprepared — and in some cases unwilling — it was to engage in transition exercises at all in late 2016 and early 2017.” [Politico, 3/16/20]

Ernst Voted For “Skinny Repeal” Of The Affordable Care Act. [Senate Vote 179, 7/28/17]

Morning Consult: “Obamacare Repeal Defeat Staves Off Cuts to Preventive Health Program.” [Morning Consult, 7/28/17]

CNN:

CDC Said Losing Prevention Fund Would “Would Cripple Officials’ Ability To Detect, Prevent And Respond To Health Threats Including Pandemic Flu.” “Public health advocates are warning lawmakers the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare will eliminate nearly $1 billion in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding used for programs like preventing disease outbreaks and childhood lead poisoning. […] It funds heart disease and stroke prevention, immunization, lead poisoning prevention and diabetes prevention, mostly through grants to states and local programs, according to the CDC. CDC’s website says losing this funding would cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent and respond to health threats including pandemic flu.” [CNN, 3/9/17]

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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