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Rubio, Nelson, Diaz-Balart, Deutch Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort Urging President Trump to Keep Up the Fight Against Zika
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) and U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) are leading a bipartisan, bicameral group of 47 members of Congress in urging President Trump to maintain a comprehensive effort across the federal government to combat the Zika virus.
“Last year, after months of debate, Congress worked together in a bipartisan manner to appropriate $1.1 billion to support our nation’s Zika response,” states the letter. “We urge your administration to ensure all funding is appropriately distributed in a timely manner to support efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and expedite vaccine research to protect our constituents from this public health threat.”
Other members of Congress joining the effort include U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Thune (R-SD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and U.S. Representatives John Lewis (D-GA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Al Green (D-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL).
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
We urge you to continue to support a comprehensive response across the federal government to protect against the threat of the Zika virus. As of March 29, 2017, 43,485 cases of Zika virus disease have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories. With cases in nearly every corner of the United States, preventing the spread of Zika virus should be a national priority. As we enter mosquito season, maintaining federal support for vector control, diagnostic testing, and public awareness and education efforts will be critical to stopping the spread of the virus. A robust response to this threat will be especially important to the health and safety of Americans living in regions with large mosquito populations.
As you know, Zika virus is transmitted when humans are bitten by infected mosquitoes, through blood transfusions, and through sexual contact. Additionally, pregnant women are among some of the most vulnerable populations. While many of the cases reported in the states were acquired abroad, Florida, Texas and the territories experienced local transmission of the virus, requiring a large investment of federal, state and local resources. So far, the CDC has tallied a total of 5,182 cases of Zika virus infection nationwide, with approximately 216 cases in Florida and six cases in Texas from local mosquitoes, and more than 38,000 cases in Puerto Rico and the other territories.
Until we have a vaccine, Zika virus will continue to threaten American families with increased risks of birth defects, with the most serious cases presenting life-long challenges and high health care costs. Researchers have also linked Zika infection with neurologic, eye, and heart problems in adults, and there is still much more that we do not know about this virus.
Last year, after months of debate, Congress worked together in a bipartisan manner to appropriate $1.1 billion to support our nation’s Zika response. We urge your administration to ensure all funding is appropriately distributed in a timely manner to support efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and expedite vaccine research to protect our constituents from this public health threat.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to working with you as we continue the fight against the Zika virus.