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June 2016
POLICY AND ADVOCACY
Zika Funding Remains in Limbo
House and Senate negotiators continue to try to find a compromise bill to address the Zika virus. Back in February, President Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency supplemental funding to address the disease both in Zika-endemic countries and within the United States. A Senate-approved bill would provide $1.1 billion to address Zika. The Senate bill does not cut elsewhere in order to offset Zika funding. A House-approved bill would provide only $622 million, which would be offset by diverting funding from the Ebola response and other public health priorities. A compromise bill that later emerged would have provided the Senate’s figure of $1.1 billion with offsets pushed by the House. President Obama threatened to veto the bill and it was ultimately voted down in the Senate on June 28. IDSA and other health groups are now calling on the House and Senate to restart negotiations.
 
IDSA has joined with other health groups to urge Congress to immediately advance President Obama’s request for emergency Zika funding. The Society has participated in congressional visits and weekly White House strategy meetings, and IDSA members have sent nearly 600 letters to Capitol Hill in support of the emergency funding request. 
 
In letters to Congress and media outreach, IDSA and other health groups have underscored the urgent need to provide new resources to address Zika right away, as opposed to delaying and repurposing funding intended to address other important public health threats. Historically, emergency supplemental spending has not required offsets. 
 
The requested funding would increase international and domestic capacity for surveillance; expand the Field Epidemiology Training Program, laboratory testing, and healthcare provider training; accelerate research and development for medical countermeasures, including vaccines and diagnostics; provide support for vector control and other preventive activities; and provide services for infected and at risk pregnant women and their infants.


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