Hyman asks Congress for special session to fund Zika prevention

Mal Hyman, South Carolina's 7th Congressional District Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives

Mal Hyman, South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives

Mal Hyman, South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, today called upon Congress to return from its August recess for an emergency session to deal with legislation for Zika funding. South Carolina already has 31 reported cases of Zika, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention two days ago.

Republicans and Democrats wound up deadlocked after months of trying to negotiate an $11 billion funding bill to combat the further spread of the deadly mosquito-born disease that has already attacked killed at least three people, mostly recently an infant in Houston, Texas, just three days ago.

As of last week, the CDC reported that 510 pregnant women in the 50 states and the District of Columbia have the Zika virus, threatening their unborn children, and another 521 pregnant women in U.S. territories face the same condition. As of two days ago, the CDC reports, 1,962 people in the United States have contracted travel-related Zika. A total of 6,618 people have contracted the virus in U.S. territories.

Hyman joined Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her call for Congress to return from their recess and work on the Zika virus emergency which confronts the entire South. “Not only do we have 31 cases here in South Carolina, there’s 46 in Georgia just to our south, and 33 cases in North Carolina,” Hyman said, quoting CDC figures of laboratory-confirmed cases. “For every day that passes, more Americans get the virus, more Americans will die from it, and more American babies will be born with horrible, permanent, debilitating and potentially fatal birth defects caused by the virus.”

“Zika causes birth defects in infants, is spread by primarily by mosquitoes now more common to this region, as well as by a few other relatively rare means of transmission. Continued delays by Republicans in congress to fund President Obama’s modest request for $1.9 billion to fight the growing epidemic is Congress at it’s very worst,” said Hyman “While many Republicans fear diverting resources, I am far more concerned with protecting pregnant women and their unborn children.”

“I believe that Secretary Clinton’s call for Congress to convene in a special session to confront the Zika emergency is ‘common sense for the common good,'” Hyman said.

In February President Obama requested that Congress approve $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding, the price tag that doctors, scientists and public health officials said they needed to fight the virus. For months, the Republicans dragged their feet – until the night in June that House Democrats held their all-night sit-in for a vote on gun violence legislation. At 3 a.m., while most people were sleeping, Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans jammed through a Zika funding bill – but on loaded with “poison pill” riders and amendments that would never be passed into law.

As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells it, “Ryan pushed a pathetic, dishonest and flat-out malicious Zika bill [that] would have stolen money from the Ebola response fund, even though we still have 75 [CDC] staff members on the ground fighting the Ebola outbreak. The GOP Zika bill would have gutted the health care exchanges in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) … would have blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving birth control grant money… would have rolled back Clean Water Act requirements designed to keep pesticides out of Americans’ drinking water… would have cut Senate levels of Department of Veterans Affairs funding by $500 million – money for VA hospital maintenance and raises for VA doctors and nurses. I didn’t think that the Republicans could write one bill to hurt women, veterans, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, AND clean water all at once … but they did it. And when Senate Democrats refused to pass such a sickening bill, the Republicans pointed fingers and said it’s the Democrats’ fault for refusing to compromise.”

Author: Jana Pye

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