Congressman Eliot L. Engel, top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on recent developments surrounding the Zika virus:
“Reports of the first locally transmitted cases of Zika on the continental United States serve as a reminder that action to address this virus is long overdue. This distressing news comes on the heels of the first reported case of microcephaly in New York City.
“As public health experts have said for months, Zika is not a distant threat. Yet House Republicans left town for the summer without passing legislation which can be signed into law, and would protect Americans during this public health crisis. Instead, the GOP put forward a meager package that would have robbed funding from other public health programs, undercut the Clean Water Act, and made it more difficult for women to access contraception, thus impeding prevention efforts. When the GOP plan failed to move forward, Republicans rebuffed Democratic efforts to compromise.
“Federal agencies urgently need more resources to conduct research, control mosquito populations and educate Americans about this health emergency. Congress must provide those resources so we can finally mount the response needed to tackle the Zika virus head-on.”