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Weekly remarks: Obama on flu and GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins on $$$$

May 2, 2009 |  3:00 am

The White House at Dawn

Good morning, loyal Ticket readers. Have you washed your hands yet today -- or again?

This Saturday's weekly remarks start off with President Obama reviewing steps his administration has taken in recent days to counter the swine flu outbreak.

The Republican remarks below this week are by Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, who, not too surprisingly, is a Republican. She's a former state treasurer and a freshman in the House, who talks about the immense spending plans of the new White House administration.

(UPDATE: If you'd rather watch video excerpts of the two addresses, scroll down to the bottom. We have videos of both there.)

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama

Over the last week my administration has taken several precautions to address the challenge posed by the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. Today, I'd like to take a few minutes to explain why.

This is a new strain of the flu virus [see photo], and because we haven’t developed an immunity to it, it has more potential to cause us harm.The H1N1 Flu Virus as seen through a really strong microscope

Unlike the various strains of animal flu that have emerged in the past, it’s a flu that is spreading from human to human. This creates the potential for a pandemic, which is why we are acting quickly and aggressively. 

This H1N1 flu has had its biggest impact in Mexico, where it has claimed a number of lives and infected hundreds more.

Thus far, the strain in this country that has infected people in at least 19 states has not been as potent or as deadly. We cannot know for certain why that is, which is why we are taking all necessary precautions in the event that the virus does turn into something worse. 

This is also why the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that schools and child care facilities with confirmed cases of the virus close for up to fourteen days.

It is why we urge employers to allow infected employees to take as many sick days as necessary.

If more schools are forced to close, we’ve also recommended that both parents and businesses think about contingency plans if children do have to stay home.

We have asked every American to take the same steps you would take to prevent any....

...other flu: keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you’re sick; and keep your children home from school if they’re sick.

And the White House has launched pages in Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to support the ongoing efforts by the CDC to update the public as quickly and effectively as possible. [Ed. Note: Ticket item on these new pages is here.]

As our scientists and researchers learn more information about this virus every day, the guidance we offer will likely change. What will not change is the fact that we’ll be making every recommendation based on the best science possible.  

We will also continue investing in every resource necessary to treat this virus and prevent a wider outbreak. The good news is that the current strain of H1N1 can be defeated by a course of antiviral treatment that we already have on hand. 

We began this week with 50 million courses of this treatment in the Strategic National Stockpile. Over the course of the last few days, we have delivered one-quarter of that stockpile to states so that they are prepared to treat anyone who is infected with this virus. We then purchased an additional 13 million treatments to refill our strategic stockpile. 

Out of an abundance of caution, I have also asked Congress for $1.5 billion if it is needed to purchase additional antivirals, emergency equipment, and the development of a vaccine that can prevent this virus as we prepare for the next flu season in the fall. 

The Recovery Act that Congress enacted in February also included expansions of community health centers, a dramatic increase in the training of healthcare workers and nurses, and $300 million for the development and deployment of vaccines – all of which will help us meet this threat. 

Finally, thanks to the work that the last administration and Congress did to prepare for a possible avian flu pandemic in 2005, states and the federal government have fully operable influenza readiness plans and are better prepared to deal with such a challenge than ever before.

It is my greatest hope and prayer that all of these precautions and preparations prove unnecessary. But because we have it within our power to limit the potential damage of this virus, we have a solemn and urgent responsibility to take the necessary steps.

I would sooner take action now than hesitate and face graver consequences later. I have no higher priority as President of the United States than the safety and security of the American people, and I will do whatever is necessary to protect this country.

So I want to thank every American for their patience and understanding during this developing challenge, and I promise that this government will continue speaking clearly and honestly about the steps we’re taking to meet it. Thank you.    ###

Weekly Republican Remarks by Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas

This is Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. This is my first year in Congress, and what I’ve seen since I arrived in Washington has been truly eye-opening. 

Republican Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins

The pace that Democrats in Congress and the White House are spending your tax dollars is simply staggering. A trillion dollars for the so-called ‘stimulus’ bill. Nearly a half-trillion on an ‘omnibus’ spending measure with nearly 9,000 un-scrutinized earmarks. 

And $3.6 trillion on a budget that Democrats just passed this week, which includes trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. As a mother with two children, I'm concerned – like any mom would be – about the debt we’re piling on future generations.

I know a thing or two about handling taxpayer dollars. I was the state treasurer in Kansas for six years before I came to Congress, and before that I practiced public accounting as a certified public accountant for nearly two decades.

So trust me when I say Washington’s books are a mess. 

Remember when the president promised strict oversight of how states and local communities are spending those critical ‘stimulus’ dollars? Well, in the last few weeks, we’ve heard about plenty of ‘stimulus’ waste. 

Taxpayer dollars earmarked for a homeless program in a town with no homeless problem. Millions to extend an ‘Artwalk’ in New York. And more than a million dollars for sidewalks and trash cans outside a casino in Michigan. His bill was supposed to be about jobs, but it’s gone off the rails in practically no time at all and millions of our tax dollars are being wasted. 

It’s quickly turning into a symbol of everything wrong with Washington, D.C. – unchecked spending, no accountability and oversight, and more and more debt piled onto our children and grandchildren.

This week, we marked the president’s 100th day in office.  And while, like most of you, I like the president personally, I think the Democrats’ first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing. 

The plans they’ve passed in the first 100 days will add more to our nation’s public debt than all previous presidents combined in 200 plus years. They’ve taken away President Obama’s promised middle-class tax cut and paved the way for a new national energy tax to be paid by every American who dares to flip on a light switch. 

Middle-class families and small businesses across America are tightening their belts and making sacrifices each and every day during this recession, and Republicans believe that it’s time for Washington to do the same. 

We offered a budget that curbs spending, creates jobs by cutting taxes, and controls the debt. We’ve also offered proposals to help rebuild your savings, revitalize the housing market, and create twice as many jobs as the Democrats’ ‘stimulus’ at half the cost.

More than two million Americans have lost their jobs this year, and by all accounts, our national recession has gotten worse than expected. Americans are worried, and rightfully so. They know that we can’t spend our way back to prosperity. 

Republicans are fighting for middle-class families and small businesses every day here in Washington.  And we are ready to work in a bipartisan way on real solutions to create jobs, rebuild your savings, and get our economy moving again. Let’s hope the Democrats in charge are as well. Thank you for listening.   ###

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Photo credits: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press; The H1N1 virus (If you see any of these guys, scream loudly and run away very quickly while washing your hands); Office of Rep. Jenkins.