September 06, 2016
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, released the following statement after Senate Democrats again voted to block legislation providing critical resources for Zika response efforts and Veterans Affairs programs.
“This is the third time Senate Democrats have blocked critical funding needed to combat Zika, leaving Americans worried about the spread of the virus and the health of their families,” Blunt said. “I have met with National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, and had ongoing conversations with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and others about their current efforts and upcoming needs. It is clear from our discussions that we need to find a solution to this partisan impasse immediately.”
Senate Democrats previously voted to block Zika funding in June and July. The conference report includes the same $1.1 billion funding level approved by the Senate in May. It fully funds vaccine research, and increases funding above the Senate level for mosquito control, Zika surveillance, and advanced development of treatments and diagnostics. This funding is in addition to the over $600 million in existing funds already being used by the administration in response to the Zika threat.
Today, Blunt met with Dr. Collins to discuss the urgent need to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus. In May, Blunt traveled to CDC headquarters in Atlanta to meet with Dr. Frieden and discuss the agency’s Zika response.