WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and the conference committee negotiating the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and Zika virus supplemental funding bill, criticized efforts to pack the must-pass bill with unrelated, ideological “poison pill” provisions and require offsets for this public health emergency.

“Summer is here and mosquitos are coming, but Congress is playing games with this urgent health crisis,” said Murphy. “Doctors and scientists are asking us for the resources to fight Zika and save lives, but people are wasting precious time by making this a fight about birth control, water pollution, and the Confederate flag. As a negotiator on the bill, I was optimistic that both parties could come together and hammer out a deal – but that didn’t happen. Republicans cut us out of the process and negotiated among themselves. I’m deeply frustrated, but will continue working hard to get this critical Zika funding across the finish line.”

Murphy has supported numerous initiatives to combat the outbreak of Zika in Connecticut and across the United States, and has continuously called for $1.9 billion of emergency funding to address the outbreak. A bill cosponsored by Murphy – called the Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act – was recently signed into law. It adds Zika as an eligible disease to receive a priority review voucher from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), incentivizing the development of Zika vaccines. 

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories have reported travel-related cases of Zika. There have been no locally acquired reported cases in the continental United States. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has confirmed that nineteen Connecticut residents have tested positive for travel-related cases of Zika. For further information regarding the Zika virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.