Washington, D.C. – This week, with the support of Congressman Rouzer, the House of Representatives passed a bill to use funds already appropriated to address and prevent the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. The bill allocates $622.1 million in existing funds to the Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the State Department, and USAID for Zika prevention and treatment efforts. Because this is not new spending, the funding is available immediately.
“The Zika outbreak is a public health emergency threatening the well-being and lives of women, infants, children and the elderly. Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for this disease. I’m pleased the House acted this week to pass this bill by directing existing funds be used to help prevent the spread of the virus, put in place safeguards to protect the vulnerable, and establish strong oversight measures to ensure these funds are spent effectively.”
The Zika virus is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Under this measure, $170 million is allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to target funding to states with heavy mosquito populations and for programs for prenatal care, delivery and postpartum care. The National Institutes of Health will receive $230 million to fund vaccines and diagnostic test research. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development will be allocated $103 million to support research and development activities. In order to combat the disease abroad, the State Department and USAID will be provided $119.1 million to help mosquito control efforts and information campaigns vital to limiting mosquito exposure.
The $622 million in new funding for Zika is fully offset by repurposing leftover funds for the response to the Ebola virus and funds from the Department of Health and Human Service Non-Reoccuring Expense Fund. This in addition to the $589 million that has already been repurposed from unused Ebola funds. In total, Congress will have allocated $1.2 billion to fight Zika once this bill becomes law.