10/15/2014 12:04 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2014

The GOP's Meat-Ax Approach to Government

As we approach Election Day, many issues are coming into focus for the voters. The question I always think has to be answered is, who is on your side -- really on your side? Whose agenda would protect you and whose agenda would endanger you?

Just look at the Ebola crisis. When Republicans took control of the House, one of the first things they did in 2011 was vote to take a meat ax to the domestic side of the budget.

Virtually nothing was spared under the GOP proposal. They voted to slash funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.6 billion. They voted to slash funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) by $1.4 billion. They voted to slash investments in the same public health agencies that we desperately need right now to protect us from Ebola and to find a cure for this devastating disease.

One of America's greatest success stories is our leadership in medical research and public health. That doesn't happen overnight. It requires a national commitment, it requires sustained investment and it takes support from both parties.

Yet as soon as Republicans took over the House, they made their priorities clear when House Speaker John Boehner bluntly warned, "When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: we're going to cut spending." He vowed that Republicans were willing to shut down the government if they didn't get their way -- and they did.

We know that cutting critical investments has real and lasting impacts, whether we're talking about spending on infrastructure, spending on education, spending on environmental protection or spending on disaster preparedness and disease control.

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the NIH, said last week that the shortchanging of critical medical research over the last decade -- including on vaccinations for infectious diseases -- had slowed the agency's efforts to fight the Ebola threat.

So as voters contemplate who to put in charge of the House and Senate this November, they need to understand that elections have consequences.

If you want to know what the future would look like under an all-GOP Congress, you need only look at what Republicans have said and done in the past. They will take a meat ax to our nation's top domestic priorities, including the very public health systems that we rely upon to keep us safe. We cannot let that happen.