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McCollum: House Republicans Should Return From Recess, Pass Full Funding for Zika Response

August 5, 2016
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) called today for Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leaders to bring Congress back from recess to approve a bipartisan, Senate-passed Zika response bill that will help keep American families safe amid this public health emergency. The need for urgent action was underscored this week by reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense about the spread of the Zika virus in the United States and among American servicemembers.

“Now that we know mosquitoes are transmitting the Zika virus inside the United States, it is obvious that we are facing a public health emergency,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Public health experts have told Congress what resources they need to help keep American families and children safe. House Republicans should bring Congress back from its seven-week recess so we can approve the Senate-passed bill that provides $1.1 billion to confront the Zika virus.”

The Senate approved $1.1 billion in Zika response funding on a bipartisan vote in May. Although the Senate bill provides $800 million less than public health officials recommended, this proposal represents an acceptable compromise to the Obama administration, House and Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans. However, House Republicans have insisted that any Zika funding bill include unrelated ideological provisions that limit women’s access to contraception and undermine the Clean Water Act by allowing toxic pesticides to be used near waterways.

“It is shameful that Speaker Ryan and House Republicans are playing politics with the health and safety of American families,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “The Zika virus is a public health emergency and we must give our public health officials the resources they need to deal with it. House Republicans must stop pandering to anti-choice activists and polluters’ special interests. They need to do their job, fund the response to Zika, and help keep American families safe.”