Press Releases

Jaime Herrera Beutler Supports $1.9 Billion to Combat the Spread of Zika Virus

Votes for amendment in committee to fund federal agencies tasked with addressing Zika outbreak at level requested by the President

f t # e
Washington, DC, April 20, 2016 | comments
Yesterday, Jaime Herrera Beutler voted to dedicate $1.9 billion to combatting the Zika virus through an amendment to the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
share: f t

Yesterday, Jaime Herrera Beutler voted to dedicate $1.9 billion to combatting the Zika virus through an amendment to the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Federal agencies tasked with stemming the spread of Zika within the U.S. and effected areas have requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to adequately respond to the virus and prevent the severe birth defects that it causes. The amendment, which failed by a vote of 20-29, would have fully funded that request. Jaime is also currently drafting her own legislative proposal to fund the request for $1.9 billion, but pay for it without adding to the national debt by using existing federal funding.

“If we do not act now and get ahead of the spread of Zika in the U.S., we will be facing a national emergency similar to what is tragically playing out in other parts of the world,” said Jaime. “I don’t want expecting parents or those who will be starting families to face the risk of severe birth defects this virus causes on a massive scale, and know Congress could have done more to stop it. While I believe we should fund the President’s request for a robust response to the Zika, I also believe we can do it in a fiscally responsible manner.  I plan to introduce legislation that will fund the fight against Zika, but pay for it in a way that doesn’t add to the national debt or further burden taxpayers.”  

Jaime also championed the effort to direct $10 million toward Zika prevention in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program. WIC already has Zika prevention efforts underway in affected U.S. territories including educational outreach to low-income mothers focused on preventing the spread of Zika virus and distributing Zika kits, which include bug repellant, bed nets, and larvacide, and Jaime’s legislative directive would expand WIC efforts within the continental U.S.  

Zika can cause serious harm to the baby if a woman is infected during pregnancy. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed growing fears that the Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects. Thousands of devastating birth defects have been observed among infants born to Zika virus-infected mothers in South and Central America in recent months.  Zika has already been diagnosed in travelers returning to the U.S. from these areas.

f t # e