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Environment

Congress moves on emergency Zika funding

by Britt E. Erickson
May 23, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 21

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Credit: James Gathany
Credit: James Gathany

U.S. lawmakers are one step closer to providing money to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects. But they still don’t agree on how much money should be spent. The House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would provide $622.1 million in aid to combat Zika for the remainder of fiscal 2016.

How much money should go to fight the Zika virus?

• House of Representatives: $622 million
• Senate: $1.1 billion
• President Obama: $1.9 billion

The money would be offset primarily by unused funds intended for work on the Ebola virus. The Senate meanwhile passed its own $1.1 billion emergency Zika funding plan last week as an amendment to two unrelated 2017 appropriations bills that were combined. The Senate plan does not require offsets. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House measure, calling it “woefully inadequate.” Earlier this year, Obama urged Congress to pass a $1.9 billion Zika package.

 

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