Washington, D.C. – In a letter sent Friday, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse
urged House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to bring the $1.1 billion Zika funding
legislation passed by the Senate to the House floor for a vote. As of today, there
are more than 18,000 cases of Zika reported in the United States and its
«Zika is now well established in the United States with cases of local transmission
by mosquitoes being reported in multiple areas of Florida, as well as the U.S.
territories,» Reed, Whitehouse and 27 Senate colleagues wrote. «While babies die,
pregnant women and communities suffer, adults worry about future long-term
neurological risks from Zika, and U.S. service members and military bases are
affected, Congress remains deadlocked in partisan politics. Now is the time to lead
and to show the American people that Congress will act to protect them.»
In their letter, the senators note the broad bipartisan support in the Senate to act
on Zika funding. They cited the passage of the Blunt-Murray compromise amendment to
the FY17 MilCon-VA appropriations bill, which included the support of 23 Senate
Republicans. The letter also reminds the House Speaker that more than 50 health,
public health, provider, and other organizations have urged Congress to pass a Zika
funding bill that can be signed by the president immediately.
Current funds to address Zika have begun to expire, leaving the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention without the resources to effectively combat the virus. Due to
Congressional inaction, the White House has supplemented funding to address Zika by
reallocating funds from other public health threats like Ebola. This funding,
however, will run out in September.
In addition to Reed and Whitehouse, the letter was signed by Senators Brian Schatz
(D-Hawai’i), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Markey (D-Mass.),
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy
(D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bob
Casey (D-Pa.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.),
Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Ron
Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Carper
(D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow
(D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.).