WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement after the Senate’s failed cloture vote on the conference committee report for Zika response funding. The report came back from negotiations between House and Senate Republicans loaded with inappropriate and dangerous add-ons and pay-fors that would threaten women’s health, drastically underfund critical ongoing Ebola response efforts, threaten safe drinking water, and provisions with little to no connection to how the United States responds to the growing Zika threat.
“Republicans in the Senate and House seem to be forgetting that the Zika virus is a deadly, mosquito-borne disease that has a real, devastating impact on women and their babies. Because of Zika, children are being born in the United States with horrible birth defects, while the Republicans play politics by treating this as a political vehicle to attack the Affordable Care Act and women’s health, revive the Confederate flag and allow for the unfettered release of pesticides into the drinking water supply of 1 in 3 Americans. The American people deserve better from their elected leaders. By next year, global health officials believe three to four million people throughout the Western Hemisphere could contract the Zika virus. Dealing with this epidemic is a national emergency and should be treated with the same seriousness that we treat other emergencies.”
The American Public Health Association and nearly 40 other public health groups have asked the Senate to reject the Zika Conference Report and reconvene the Conference Committee to produce responsible, bipartisan legislation.