By: John E. Warren
It is a good thing that America has been a lead nation in both providing humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine. It is good that we as a nation, Democrat and Republican, have been able to unify on this most important issue facing the world. It is also a good thing that America has been able to give hundreds of millions of doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine to struggling third world countries where people are waiting in lines while Americans refuse vaccinations for all kinds of reasons.
But while all of this is a good thing, let us not forget the looming crisis ahead of us. The fact is that the virus, with its ever increasing mutations, is not over. There are still over 750 people dying daily from this virus even though hospital rates and the daily death rates are down from what they were just months ago. Infection cases are up across the country with some states experiencing higher rates than others and a number of cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. have had to reinstate their mask mandates.
In the midst of the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis, the new surge in infections across the country, and continued death rates, the United States Congress refused to pass a 22 billion dollar funding bill to continue testing, vaccinations, and the funding for Covid-19 related supplies before adjourning for the Easter/Spring Recess. Much of the opposition, again, is coming from the (Russian-like) Republican Party not only denying and refusing to support and vote for such funds, but also leaving out much needed continuation dollars for programs to feed the hungry.
This pull back on funds for testing and vaccinations is also impacting those American companies that geared up to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the height of the pandemic when supplies were no longer available from our foreign sources. Now, with this cutback in federal funds, many of these companies are on the verge of going out of business because America is withdrawing the very funds that allowed hospitals and others to purchase the PPE items they were able to buy until this cutoff.
How can we find billions of dollars to support all elements of the Ukraine Humanitarian crisis, but not have money for our own people here at home? Those Americans who are still unvaccinated, and mainly by choice, still represent a threat to the rest of us. The government’s distribution of personal testing kits cannot become a substitute for providing the kind of care and supplies that have allowed us to avoid millions of additional deaths because, at the time, we funded the very things we are now threatening to withhold. Let us not forget the saying “Charity starts at home and then spreads abroad”.
Mr. President, Members of Congress, America is “home”.
Let’s not create another humanitarian crisis here because of party politics.