Bennet, Senate Advance $1.1 Billion to Combat Zika Virus

CDC Facility in Fort Collins Leading Research Efforts

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate joined Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today in advancing $1.1 billion in emergency funding to help combat the Zika virus outbreak. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week.

Bennet has fought for the resources to combat the virus since his visit to the Fort Collins division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is leading the country's efforts to prevent spread of the virus. The agency recently reported that research could slow to a halt without additional resources. The administration requested $1.9 billion for the CDC and other agencies battling Zika. Bennet has pledged to continue to fight for full funding to protect Colorado families, particularly newborns, from the virus. The House of Representatives is expected to consider a bill that will provide $622 million, roughly a third of what is needed.

"As the onset of summer and mosquito season approaches, Zika has families in Colorado and around the country worried about their kids' health and the safety of their pregnancies," Bennet said. "These resources will help ensure scientists and researchers in Fort Collins and other parts of the country can continue working to develop a vaccine and prevent the spread of the virus. We'll continue to fight for the remaining funding to ensure they can have all of the tools they need to keep our families safe at their disposal. We'll also put pressure on the House to recognize the seriousness of this threat and reconsider its grossly inadequate proposal."

Bennet has helped lead the fight to beef up the federal government's efforts to combat the virus. Last week, he pressed Congressional leaders in the House and Senate to consider and pass emergency funding before current funding dries up.

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 located 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 program that is largely run out of the Fort Collins facility.