Today on the deathbed of the Do-Nothing Congress, a last gasp echoed through the Capitol as Richard Burr climbed into bed with the villainous Senator from Massachusetts to create a new government bureaucracy.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Congress on Saturday passed a bill to improve U.S. preparedness for bioterrorism or other health crises, in part by accelerating development of new vaccines and drugs.
The bill, sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy and North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, was one of a number of bills passed by Congress before adjourning Saturday morning and sent to President George W. Bush.
"With this bill, we take many important steps to increase our preparedness and response capabilities for public health emergencies by increasing our medical surge capacity, strengthening our public health infrastructure, and clarifying the responsibilities of federal officials," Kennedy said.
Many experts have warned that the United States is poorly prepared to respond to a terrorism attack involving germ warfare agents, like anthrax or small pox, or to potential pandemics like bird flu. The measure would provide $1 billion over three years to develop vaccines and drugs to counter such threats.
As I've written previously, I don't know if it's a good idea or a bad idea to create another organization to address this important problem. But in any case, the irony of a tax-less-spend-more Republican pushing for bigger government should not be overlooked. Nor should the fact that this bill would have never passed if the Republicans hadn't lost in November.
The worm has already turned. The Senator quoted in this article is a liberal Democrat. Mr. Burr is already an after-thought.
PS Some of the Democrats I know who have to deal with Richard Burr say he's a serious person who they can actually work with. The fact that he teamed up with Kennedy on this is interesting. But whenever my friends say nice things about Burr I have to do a double-take. I have to wonder if they're talking about the same guy who:
has strongly supported the policies of Bush administration, publicly saying that President Bush "is right 96% of the time." Like Bush, Burr is pro-life, supports the death penalty, and favors a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Anyone who would say President Bush is right 96% of the time is an idiot. Sorry, Senator Burr, but until you retract that praise, no one with half a brain will take you seriously. You may be a nice guy, but you're dangerous.