Today, Republicans in Congress demanded that any funding for the nation’s response to the Zika outbreak must be paired with harmful new gifts to their most extreme constituencies.

Taking a bold stand for the confederacy

confederate-flag-banned-cemeteriesHouse Republicans added an amendment to the bill that would block Planned Parenthood from providing contraception to prevent the spread of the virus (which, unlike most mosquito-borne illnesses, can be transmitted sexually). Another amendment eliminated an existing ban on flying the confederate flag at federal cemeteries, because we are still fighting wars from the nineteenth century, apparently. Others attacked clean water and the healthcare law.

Instead of insisting on a clean funding bill, given the public health emergency, the GOP-controlled Senate pushed to end debate and force Democrats to vote on the bill, knowing that they couldn’t swallow the poison pills it contained. And Ohio’s Rob Portman joined his fellow Republicans in favor of moving the measure.

Portman and the GOP Agenda

When people talk about Rob Portman, they might say that he came out for gay marriage (after learning his son was gay) or that he avoids appearing with Donald Trump (whom he endorsed) or that he generally seems like an OK guy because he isn’t on TV screaming all the time.

But the truth is, Portman votes with the GOP majority when they need him to. In this case, it was to leave the nation without a response to an urgent public health threat in order to stand up for white nationalists and against Planned Parenthood. Other times he’s stood with the GOP to block increases to the minimum wage, equal pay for women, prevailing wage on taxpayer-funded projects and to repeal Obamacare. Portman is currently helping to block hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, preferring to save the seat for Donald Trump to fill. Think about that for a second.

This Zika standoff tells you everything you need to know about the GOP majority. Rob Portman is a reliable vote for the extreme far-right agenda, which is reason enough to give his election a second thought.