Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen, Curbelo, Wilson, and Wasserman Schultz Urge HHS to Immediately Disburse Zika Funds
MIAMI – Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement after sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell requesting that recently appropriated Zika funds be disbursed immediately to affected areas, including Florida. Miami-Dade County is the first confirmed location of local transmission in the continental United States. Read the letter, which was led by Diaz-Balart, here.
Rep. Diaz-Balart: “South Florida is ground zero for the local transmission of the Zika virus in the continental United States, and I’m working to ensure that adequate federal resources are part of the response. Now that Congress has appropriated funds to fight the Zika virus, we cannot allow the money to sit unspent. Both the state of Florida and Miami-Dade County have spent millions in Zika response, and federal dollars are urgently needed to continue these prevention and treatment programs. By collaborating with HHS, we can make sure these funds are disbursed immediately to the most affected areas. Together, local, state, and federal governments can work towards the eradication of this dangerous disease.”
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: “Our South Florida Congressional delegation worked together to secure more than $1 billion in critical federal funding to fight the Zika epidemic plaguing our community. However, our community remains ground zero for the local transmission of Zika in the United States. The federal government must do more to ensure an efficient and quick disbursement of funds to best aid South Florida in the fight against this threat. It is crucial that some of those funds go to reimburse our local governments that took the lead on Zika prevention and eradication efforts at a time when the federal government was paralyzed by political posturing.”
Rep. Curbelo: “It is imperative that resources be directed toward the state of Florida as soon as possible to eradicate the Zika virus. As ground zero for local transmission, Florida must have the necessary tools to prevent the spread of the virus, which has been linked to devastating health conditions. I am proud of the efforts by local leaders, and I am pleased to join my colleagues to urge the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly disburse these funds.”
Rep. Wilson: “Until the Zika virus ceases to exist or there is a vaccine available to prevent another outbreak, efforts to educate our constituents, treat those who’ve been infected, and combat the virus must move at full speed. That cannot happen without adequate resources, which should be disbursed as quickly as possible. In addition, the local governments and organizations that stretched their resources to the limit during the past several months working so hard on every aspect of fighting the virus, from outreach to education to treatment, need to be reimbursed as soon as possible. Wynwood is in my district, so I witnessed firsthand the adverse effect Zika had on my constituents’ physical and economic well-being. As the epicenter of the virus in South Florida, this community has suffered enough and will greatly benefit from the good these funds will do as it continues to rebound.”