White House Criticizes Congress For Not Approving Zika Funding; Signaling Shift, House Republican Leaders Say Additional Funds Needed, Bill In Works

CQ News: White House, Appropriator Exchange Words Over Zika Funding
“The White House and the top House appropriator traded barbs Wednesday about funding to combat the Zika virus, with the White House saying lawmakers have ‘frittered away’ a chance to protect Americans — especially pregnant women and unborn children. … The administration last week shifted $589 million in existing funds from other programs to counter the virus…” (Bennett, 4/13).

The Hill: Obama will sign ‘meager’ Zika bill, White House says
“…The bipartisan legislation, which the House passed Tuesday, adds the Zika virus to a list of diseases that qualifies for a ‘priority review’ voucher from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). … But it does not increase federal funding to address the Zika virus, which has been the subject of a fierce partisan debate on Capitol Hill…” (4/13).

The Hill: Overnight Healthcare: House GOP readies Zika funding plan
“House GOP leaders are working on a bill to approve more funding for the fight against the Zika virus by the end of the year as they face mounting pressure from the White House. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the head of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday he would support immediate action through a supplemental funding request, but is waiting on details from the administration…” (Ferris/Sullivan, 4/13).

International Business Times: Zika Virus Funding: States Feeling The Squeeze As Congress Holds Out On $1.8 Billion In Emergency Money
“… ‘Relying on existing pots of money will likely damage public health in some way, shape, or form, if additional money is not provided,’ [Josh Michaud, an associate director on the global health policy team at the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation,] said. Of the $589 million that the White House cobbled together last week, $510 million of that came from funding for Ebola that was intended to help wipe out that virus for good and prevent future epidemics…” (Whitman, 4/13).

Reuters: Republican, signaling a shift, says more money needed for Zika fight
“Senior U.S. House of Representatives Republican Tom Cole said on Wednesday more funds will be needed to fight the Zika virus in the United States, signaling a shift from insistence by many Republicans that the Obama administration should use existing funds for the effort to combat the growing threat…” (Cornwell, 4/13).

Roll Call: Zika Spurs War of Words
“…House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) accused the administration of stonewalling lawmakers on their efforts to better understand how it would use a proposed $1.9 billion in emergency monies to combat the virus. Rogers said he is seeking additional information on exactly what the administration wants to do with the money, saying the White House’s initial request had scant details…” (Bennett, 4/13).

USA TODAY: White House: Zika bill is ‘two months late and $1.9 billion short’
“…The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Congress to approve its [nearly] $2 billion emergency funding request for mosquito eradication, vaccine development, and laboratory capacity…” (Korte, 4/13).

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