May 18, 2016

Lee, Schakowsky, DeGette, Slaughter: “Zika’s Coming: GOP Chooses Politics Over Action”

Washington D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released the following statement in response to the bill introduced by House Republican that would provide insufficient funding to combat the Zika virus:

“The Zika virus is a threat to communities and families across the country.  Congress should do its job by providing adequate funding to protect Americans, strengthen our public health infrastructure and continue research to create a vaccine.  With summer coming, it is imperative that we make the level of commitment necessary to keep the public safe.

“Unfortunately, the bill that the Republican majority is bringing up for a vote this week falls far short of what is needed. 

“First, it would provide insufficient funding of $622 million, significantly below the President’s request of $1.9 billion and about half the level in the Senate bill.”

“Second, the bill pays for Zika efforts by taking away money from another serious public health threat  -- jeopardizing our ability to combat Ebola and develop a vaccine to prevent against future outbreaks.  It is both short-sighted and dangerous to fund one public health crisis by undermining efforts to combat another public health crisis.

“Finally, by including Hyde language that denies access to abortions for women receiving Medicaid, women in the Peace Corps and military, federal workers and others, it continues discriminatory policies that deny women vital reproductive health care services based on their income, their insurance, and where they work.

“For those reasons, we oppose H.R. 5243.  It is a short-term, inadequate response to a serious public health threat.  We urge our Republican colleagues to work with us to pass legislation that will get the job done.”