Tags: Paul Ryan | Zika Virus | Zika | Paul Ryan | Op-Ed

Ryan to Congressional Democrats: Stop Politicizing Zika

Ryan to Congressional Democrats: Stop Politicizing Zika
 Paul Ryan (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:41 AM


House Speaker Paul Ryan called for an end to the deadlock in Congress preventing the use of hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to fighting the Zika virus.

"We shouldn’t be politicizing the Zika threat. We should be fighting it. From the start, the Republican-led Congress has made it a priority to enact smart measures and secure resources to protect the public," Ryan said in an op-ed piece in USA Today.

Ryan blames Democrats for stalling the funding - $589 million re-directed from Ebola response funds, and $1.1 billion from a House-approved plan that would combat the spread of the disease.

"The president asked for $1.9 billion in February," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS News. "If we don't get the money very soon that will interfere with the smooth transition ... into the phase two trial."

Congress failed to provide funding to test for and fight the disease before taking a seven-week break in late July. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told lawmakers Wednesday that money devoted to the Zika fight is rapidly running out, the Associated Press reported. The funding situation was better amid the Ebola fight, doctors say.

"Those resources weren't allocated because Congress failed to do so," Dr. Kenneth Ratzan, a specialist in infectious disease at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told The Miami Herald. "If Congress had acted, I would think that the testing would have been developed."

So far Florida is the only state to report locally sourced infections. Miami-Dade County started spraying an insecticide called Naled to kill mosquitoes believed to spread Zika. In Puerto Rico, where almost 5,000 Zika cases have been reported, officials refused to use pesticides because of other health concerns, though the Environmental Protection Agency claims the spray is safe, according to CBS News.

"For its part, the White House turns a blind eye to all this. It demands more funding while sitting on unspent funds. It calls for more aggressive mosquito control while Senate Democrats block that authority. It points fingers at Republicans, knowing full well that Senate Democrats are being obstructionist," Ryan says.

"Those are the facts. We need the White House and Senate Democrats to drop politics and put the public’s health first. We hope for a change of heart, and soon."

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House Speaker Paul Ryan called for an end to the deadlock in Congress preventing the use of hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to fighting the Zika virus. "We shouldn't be politicizing the Zika threat. We should be fighting it. From the start, the Republican-led...
Zika, Paul Ryan, Op-Ed
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2016-41-04
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:41 AM
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