Tags: CDC | Ebola | Bobby Jindal | Public Health Fund

Jindal: CDC Spending Millions on Streetlights While Ebola Rages

By    |   Monday, 13 October 2014 08:48 AM

In the midst of the Ebola crisis, the Obama administration has no business spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control to fund "non-essential" programs that give grants for things like improving sidewalks and street lighting,  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal writes in an opinion piece for Politico.

While the Centers, or CDC, is well funded, much of the money has been diverted from programs to fight infectious diseases and directed to "programs far afield from the CDC's original purpose," such as the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Jindal writes in "The Facts About Ebola Funding."

This fund receives annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare, according to Jindal, who notes that despite nearly $3 billion the CDC has received from the fund over the past five years, just 6 percent went toward building epidemiology and lab capacity.

"Especially given the agency's postwar roots as the Communicable Disease Center, one would think that 'detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats' warrants a larger funding commitment," Jindal writes.

He points out that the community transformation grant program received three times as much money as what was appropriated to fight infectious disease.

While there's certainly a place for the kind of projects funded through the community transformation grant program, they should be funded by states, localities or private charities, according to Jindal.

"To govern is to choose," he writes. "Unfortunately, this administration seems intent on not choosing, instead trying to insinuate Washington into every nook and cranny of our lives.

"It's a misguided and dangerous gambit, for two reasons. First, a federal government with nearly $18 trillion in debt has no business spending money on non-essential priorities. Second, a government that attempts to do too much will likely excel at little.

"And the federal government has one duty above all: To protect the health, safety and well-being of its citizens."

The World Health Organization reports that this year, Ebola has killed more 4,033 people and infected more than twice that amount, the Associated Press reports.

All but nine of the deaths occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. Eight people died in Nigeria, and one — Thomas Duncan — in the United States. Duncan came to the U.S. from Liberia already carrying the virus.

When the "government prioritizes funding for jungle gyms and bike paths over steps to protect our nation from possible pandemics, citizens have every right to question the decisions that got us to this point," according to Jindal, who is considered likely to seek the Republican nomination for the White House in 2016.

He criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for remarks she made during a paid speech last week, in which she tied spending reductions mandated under sequestration as hurting the fight against Ebola.

"The CDC is another example on the response to Ebola — they're working heroically, but they don't have the resources they used to have," Clinton said, according to The Hill.

Jindal has a different perspective.

"In this case, the data show not that the CDC faced a lack of funding, but misplaced priorities for that funding based on choices made by the Obama administration," he writes.

"I urge Secretary Clinton to put her partisan politics aside, and ensure instead that the federal government focus first and foremost on our most important goal: to keep America, and Americans, safe."

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In the midst of the Ebola crisis, the Obama administration has no business spending millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control to fund programs like sidewalks and streetlights, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says.
CDC, Ebola, Bobby Jindal, Public Health Fund
Monday, 13 October 2014 08:48 AM
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