By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, May 19, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) voted for legislation to provide funding for combatting the Zika virus.
Congressman Byrne said, “Being from the Gulf Coast, my district is particularly vulnerable to a potential outbreak of the Zika virus, so I believe it is important Congress address this issue. That is exactly what the House has done while also ensuring fiscal responsibility.” “All told, the House will have provided $1.2 billion to combat the Zika virus and put important prevention programs in place. Instead of trying to score political points through scare tactics, President Obama should call on the Senate to support our legislation so these important funds can start being used.”
The House bill provides $622 million in new funding to address the Zika virus. The funding is offset by leftover money from the Ebola virus response and the transfer of funds from the Department of Health and Human Services Non-Reoccurring Expense Fund. The new funding is on top of the $589 million that has already been repurposed from the Ebola fund.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus “is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.” People rarely die from the Zika virus, but studies have shown that the virus causes serious birth defects. The Aedes species mosquito is found in Alabama’s coastal counties.
The Speaker of the House of Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said that the House, “Passed a plan to help protect our people from the spread of Zika. We will now work with the Senate to get much needed resources in place.”
President Obama (D) is threatening to veto the House bill. He requested $1.9 billion for Zika in additional deficit spending; not by cutting other programs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said, “It’s just not enough. It doesn’t give Americans the protections they deserve, and with every day of delay it gets harder to do this.”
The Senate is moving forward with a $1.1 billion Zika package.
Frieden said that he is confident that at the end of the day that Congress would do the right thing.
The controversial legislation passed 241 to 184 on a mostly party line with Democrats siding with the President.
Alabama has already had three Zika cases; though those were exposed elsewhere. Zike is not known to be spreading in the wild in Alabama yet; though extra precautions to avoid being bit by mosquitos is recommended.
Brazil and central America have been hard hit by the disease. Despite the risk the Olympics in Brazil is expected to proceed.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Original reporting by Fox News, CNN and the Blaze contributed to this report.