May 31, 2016
WASHINGTON – On Saturday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA to meet with CDC Director Thomas Frieden and discuss the agency’s Zika response efforts.
“There are over 900 confirmed Zika cases in U.S. territories, and nearly 600 travel-associated cases in the continental United States,” Blunt said. “This is a public health threat and an emergency. The Senate has responded accordingly, passing bipartisan legislation that provides targeted resources for vaccine development, mosquito control, diagnostic tests, emergency preparedness, and public health outreach. I appreciated the opportunity to see firsthand how CDC is responding to the Zika outbreak, and will continue working to protect all Americans.”
Earlier this month, the Senate approved, on a 68-30 vote, an amendment Blunt offered with Labor/HHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (Wash.) to provide $1.1 billion for Zika response activities. As Blunt noted in remarks on the Senate floor, the measure prioritizes emergency funding for initiatives focused on prevention, control, and treatment of the Zika virus. It does not include funding for nonessential projects in the president’s original request, such as $85 million to expand existing federal buildings that wouldn’t be completed for years. These funds are in addition to the nearly $600 million in existing funding currently being utilized by the administration to immediately respond to the Zika threat.
Blunt’s visit follows a hearing he held in February with Dr. Frieden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to learn more about the Zika response effort.