Byron York has a nice piece on how to beat a bully-stand up to him:
The Obama administration has employed a variety of tactics to frighten the public about the possible consequences of sequestration. Air-traffic control towers will be shuttered. Children will be thrown off Head Start. The nation’s guard against terrorism will be lowered.
Republicans, and in some cases the press, have poked some pretty big holes in some of the administration’s most extravagant claims. But no one has done a better job than a little-known GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, who took on officials from the Centers for Disease Control at a House hearing last week.
The occasion was a meeting of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In questions directed toward Tom Frieden, who is director of the Centers for Disease Control, Harris brought up a White House estimate of the number of children in Maryland who would go without vaccinations if sequestration went into effect. The document said clearly: “2,050 fewer children will get vaccines for diseases like measles and whooping cough.”
It was a serious charge, one that could result in suffering and death; the cuts would apparently devastate something known as the 317 vaccination program. From the CDC website:
Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act authorizes the federal purchase of vaccines to vaccinate children, adolescents, and adults. Over its 50 year history, Section 317-purchased vaccine has been directed towards meeting the needs of priority populations; most recently this has included underinsured children not eligible for [the separate Vaccines for Children program], and uninsured adults.
But committee staff had looked into President Obama’s plans for the 317 program long before the sequester ever took effect. And what they discovered was that the president, in his 2013 budget, had proposed to cut $58 million from the program. The administration claimed that the money could be saved through greater efficiencies and would not involve any reductions in vaccinations. (The proposed cuts never took place.) What stunned Rep. Harris and others was that after claiming in the 2013 budget last year that $58 million could be cut without harming vaccinations, the CDC this year claimed that sequestration cuts to the same program, estimated at $30 million, would have devastating effects. So Harris — who is also a medical doctor — brought the subject up in questioning CDC director Frieden.
Read the whole thing.