Your daily Letter to the Columnist — Nov. 7, 2013
Note from Dan: Ben Foutz is the father of Zac Foutz, one of hundreds of victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak a year ago that was linked to tainted medication prepared in a not-so-well regulated compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. I wrote about them here. This week, Ben published an op-ed on the subject, More will suffer without action on compounding. Yesterday, Foutz sent me the email below.
Senator David Vitter — Republican from Louisiana — is the only senator who is refusing to allow a consent vote on the pending compounding legislation. Why?
He wants to defund part of the Affordable Care Act and he will not allow a vote until he can debate it on the floor of the Senate. It seems that even Ted Cruz has agreed to pass this legislation with no riders — so why is this particular senator a problem? You only need to google his name and read about his past history (unbelievable) to understand this Tea Party darling.
For over the past week, I have been trying to contact Senator Vitter. Today, I was on the phone for 30 minutes — holding for most of that time until I was given back to the intern who I spoke with last week. I had the intern look up the op-ed piece I wrote in the Roanoke Times on her computer and asked her to forward it to the senator; she could not guarantee he would receive it.
This was my fourth attempt to get this article to the Senator. Today, I have tried to contact my two senators, Mark Warmer and Tim Kaine as well as my Congressmen, Bob Goodlatte, and Congressmen Morgan Griffith asking all of them to call or email Senator Vitter to express the outrage I feel. However, I found communicating with my own Virginia officials was just as difficult as trying to get a message through to Senator Vitter.
I hope you can understand my outrage:
1. Louisiana was not impacted last fall by the meningitis outbreak.
2. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., from one of the hardest-hit states in the outbreak is on record asking Senator Vitter to drop his demands and vote on the legislation.
3. Did the Tea Party Republicans learn nothing from the government shut down, basically holding our government hostage over ObamaCare? That should be a separate debate and not tied to passing much-needed legislation.
4. Our elected officials are not governing on behalf of their constituents.
Since you are member of the press, I respectfully ask that you consider contacting Senator Vitter’s office — asking for his official response. I understand that doing a story may not interest you, but I feel the press can help expose this man. Please feel free to forward this to any of your colleagues as well.
I realize that I am emotionally vested and very biased on this topic. I appreciate you reporting in the past on this outbreak and Washington’s response. I hope you will continue to report on it in the future.