Bennet: Congress Must Act on Zika Funding Without Delay

Washington, D.C. - Following reports that six Zika-related pregnancies have resulted in three infants delivered with birth defects and three other lost pregnancies, Colorado U.S. Senator is calling on Congress to pass emergency funding for Zika virus research.

"This news is incredibly frightening for families across the country. While the Zika virus continues to spread, Congress won't pass the emergency funding needed for a cure. Health experts continue to warn about the devastating effects of this virus, and it's time for Congress to treat it like the health emergency it is."

The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to advance a bipartisan bill to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat and prevent the spread of the Zika virus. Bennet continues to urge both chambers to finalize an emergency funding package to respond to Zika. He has spoken out against the partisan and irresponsible House Zika proposal, which would fund only a third of the administration's emergency request from February.

Leading up to the Senate vote, he pressed Congressional leaders to consider and pass emergency funding before the current funding dries up. While the House passed a bill with only $622 million, Bennet is continuing to fight for adequate funding.

In February, he joined 45 senators in urging the Administration to coordinate an interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad. Following the Administration's request for $1.9 billion in emergency research funding, Bennet and a group of senators introduced a bill to fund the request and called on the Senate Appropriations Committee to quickly approve the funding. In April, he joined his Senate colleagues in urging Senate leaders to immediately pass the emergency supplemental funding request to help combat the Zika outbreak.

Earlier this year, Bennet visited the CDC's Division for Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins, where he toured the facility and received a briefing from researchers about their work to combat the Zika virus. In 2010, Bennet prevented funding cuts proposed by the administration that would have virtually eliminated the vector-borne diseases program that is largely run out of the Fort Collins facility.