Word came this week that the National Institutes of Health has suspended therapy-dog visits to sick children at its clinical center because of a 25% reduction in staff, even though volunteers run the program.
Seems the veterinarians who evaluate the dogs have been furloughed. So how about the frequently used dogs that have already been evaluated? No deal.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to fund NIH clinical trials for children with cancer. When asked why, if it could mean saving a single child, Reid replied: “Why would we do that?”
These are just kids, after all. Who cares if they’re in pain or die because of his intransigence and lack of compassion?
It’s comforting to know, however, that the House and Senate gyms are still open, that the government had enough money to buy a mechanical bull and, while the feds barricaded the open-air National Mall and threatened to fine and arrest those who walk there, they’ll let an immigration amnesty rally take place on those same grounds.
After all, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez will be in attendance. Apparently, as with ObamaCare, they are exempt from the rules the rest of us must follow.
Then there are reports of the National Park Service kicking families out of campgrounds in the middle of the night and keeping drivers from stopping at turnouts that have views of Mount Rushmore, even though the turnouts are not part of the national park
The House has passed bills to fund the NIH, including its clinical trials and cancer treatments and programs that allow dogs to provide a moment of relief and temporary comfort to suffering children.
The House has also funded the national parks, so they can stay open, vacations won’t be spoiled and Americans can visit monuments they fund with their tax dollars and park fees.
But Reid will have none of it. He wants the American people to suffer. It’s not his sick child or his vacation or even his money.
We are where we are because the Senate has refused to do its job properly. We have added more than $6 trillion to our national debt in the last five years, not including the $80 trillion to $110 trillion in unfunded liabilities from entitlements before factoring in ObamaCare.
We continue to spend more money than we take in by almost $1 trillion a year even while revenues are reaching record levels.
How’d He Get Elected?
Reid and President Obama blame the GOP (and it certainly deserves its share), but let’s look at the real numbers. The last time Republicans controlled both houses was the 109th Congress under President George W. Bush in 2007. Expenditures then totaled $2.73 trillion, the deficit was a whopping $161 billion and the national debt was $8.95 trillion.
Last year, federal expenditures totaled $3.54 trillion, the deficit was $1.089 trillion and the national debt just before we hit the prior debt ceiling was $16.3 trillion. Expenditures the year before were even worse — $3.6 trillion — with a deficit of $1.3 trillion. No wonder Reid refused to pass a budget.
How does someone such as Reid, with questionable judgment and ethics, ever get elected senator, let alone majority leader? What were the other senators thinking? So much for the world’s greatest deliberative body.. .
For that matter, how did Reid quadruple his wealth after he became a politician? His income is around $193,000 a year, yet his net worth has increased from about $1 million in 1982 to somewhere between $3 million to $10 million now.
He must just be a good investor. How many of us can make $700,000 on land we don’t technically own? How many of us can anticipate a bridge paid for with federal funds would be built near 160 acres of our own property, causing its value to soar?
But then, no one knows for sure what Reid’s real wealth is because, unlike Mitt Romney, Reid refuses to release his own tax returns. He must be another one of those exempt from the rules everyone else must follow.
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Michael Ramirez is Investor Business Daily’s cartoonist and a senior editor.