Gabbard Votes to Pass Emergency Funding to Combat Zika

September 29, 2016, 1:25 PM HST · Updated September 29, 4:40 PM
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Zika count. Maui Now image.

Zika count. Maui Now image.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi was among those who voted to pass a bipartisan resolution to fund the government combat of Zika virus.

After more than 7 months of delay, Gabbard said a $1.1 billion package to combat the Zika virus in states across the country has passed.

Rep. Gabbard said many of our communities are under-equipped to handle and control the spread of dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses, and pointed toward the rapid spread of dengue fever earlier this year on Hawaiʻi Island.  Dengue is carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito as the Zika virus.

The funding will help to support mosquito eradication efforts, lab testing, education and outreach, vital healthcare services and research. It will also reimburse state and local health departments that have taken on much of the financial burden of the public health pandemic.

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Gabbard notes that there have been more than 3,300 cases of Zika in the United States so far, including 12 in Hawaiʻi.  As of March 2016, there had been no cases of “locally-acquired” Zika virus infections in Hawaiʻi.

Gabbard (HI-02) voted in favor of the CR to fund the federal government through Dec. 9, 2016, which includes more than $200 million for Hawaiʻi military construction, $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus across the US, and it maintains current levels of funding for programs included in last year’s omnibus bill, including Native Hawaiʻi Education Act grants, the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, operations and maintenance for Hawaiʻi harbors, the East West Center, and others, through Dec. 9, 2016.

The congresswoman also voted to pass the Water Resources Development Act, which includes $170 million in relief and assistance for the people of Flint, Michigan dealing with the devastating water crisis.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard strongly supported the President’s emergency request to combat the Zika virus when it was first proposed in February, 2016.

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