McGrath: McConnell Shares Blame for Cuts to Government Health Groups Ahead of Pandemic

May 12, 2020

Amy McGrath, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, during a 2019 interview at WKU Public Radio
Credit Becca Schimmel | WKU Public Radio

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is criticizing Republican Mitch McConnell for allegedly trying to defund a federal program that detects and curbs the spread of infectious diseases.

Amy McGrath is one of 10 Democrats seeking her party’s nomination for the Senate seat held by McConnell.

The New Yorker recently reported that in 2017, McConnell pushed an amendment that would have ended funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

McGrath also blames McConnell for decreased funding for important public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“For the last decade, their funding has been cut left and right, and our Senator has led that. I mean, he was the one who wanted to cut the pandemic preparedness portion of the Centers for Disease Control, and—in effect—was able to do that,” McGrath said.

The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate also said McConnell bears much of the responsibility for parts of the federal CARES ACT that critics say provides money for industries, without ensuring that those businesses keep workers, their wages, and benefits.

“He had no problems pushing through a bill that gave hundreds of billions in dollars in bailouts to big corporations, with virtually no oversight, or accountability, or protections for workers.”

McConnell’s office announced late last month that Kentucky is receiving $1.7 billion as part of the CARES ACT, for things like COVID testing and hospital treatment, grants for small businesses, and personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Kentucky’s primary has been pushed back to June 23, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All voters can request an absentee ballot from their county clerk and return that ballot through the mail.