Florida Democrats Urge Obama Administration to Shift More Money to Zika Cause

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Washington, DC, August 10, 2016 | comments


Florida Democrats Urge Obama Administration to Shift More Money to Zika Cause

By Mary Ellen McIntire

A group of Florida Democrats is urging the nation’s top health official to direct agencies to shift funds to respond to the Zika virus.

Led by Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, eight members of the delegation urged Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell “to do what you can” to make sure funds are available to continue work to develop a vaccine.

“We recognize that any options that involve moving resources from other parts of your budget require raiding other vital work that is being done at your department,” they wrote. “And, for this reason, we would only recommend this type of extraordinary step step if there were no other choice. Unfortunately, the Republican congress has left you no other option.”

Administration officials have warned that the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority could run out of funds for vaccine development by the end of this month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been hoping states prepare for the virus, will likely spend its funding by the end of the year.

The agencies were allocated funding that had been previously provided for other causes, such as Ebola, as Congress has not yet passed funding to respond to the virus. Senate Democrats and Republicans remain at a standoff over a $1.1 billion deal that passed the House mostly along party lines.

Florida has reported more than 20 cases of Zika that was likely transmitted by mosquitos. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for a Miami neighborhood, where the local transmission is believed to have occurred.

Yesterday, both Fla. Gov. Rick Scott and Hillary Clinton called on congressional leaders to go into session to pass funding to respond to the virus.


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