The sequester has now killed bunnies. Yes, furry, innocent, blind, lab-test bunnies have been put to sleep because of a $1.7 billion cut in the budget for the National Institutes of Health. A research ophthalmologist writing to the Huffington Post in response to a story about science cuts says Congress is the reason why he killed the bunnies he petted, played with, and experimented on. (Via Grist)
I have riffed one postdoctoral fellow and euthanized many beautiful, rare, and expensive transgenic rabbits that were new, exciting models for testing new therapies for human retinal degenerations. We petted them, played with them, fed them treats. Now they are dead. I blame Congress directly for that.
The bunnies are indeed a sad loss. But perhaps more illustrative is how the researcher describes how the funding cuts forced him to end his project early, thus wasting a lot of money that had already been spent.
Moreover the sequester’s cost is tremendously understated as no one is counting the destroyed investments. I’ve spent over $25,000 developing a colony of animals who have a progressive age-dependent blindness. Because of the sequester we’ve killed them before we could finish the treatment study. We saved about $4,000 from this year’s budget. We thus wasted 5x more money than the sequester saved. When and if Congress ever does anything again, it will be years before we get our new blindness-treatment study back on line. If it doesn’t get better soon, I’ll retire early and then 15 people will be unemployed.
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.