WASHINGTON, DC – To provide Florida with more funding to combat the Zika threat, Congressman Ander Crenshaw today (8/3) joined the entire Florida U.S. House delegation in requesting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) readjust the current allocation formula for Zika-specific funds. The request was made in the attached letter to CDC Director Tom Frieden.
Crenshaw, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, issued the following statement regarding the status of federal funding to battle Zika:
“Florida rests in the bullseye of an emerging public health threat and deserves every possible piece of funding to combat Zika. That’s why I voted on June 23 to provide $1.1 billion to stop the spread of this disease. The additional step of readjusting the CDC Zika-specific formula is also needed to provide Florida with a greater share of funding to tackle Zika.
“With the public’s health at risk, there is no time to waste on political gamesmanship. Rather than advance the $1.1 billion in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Zika Response Appropriations Act, Senate Democrats have blocked the bill’s movement. Moreoever, I also joined my colleagues in demanding that the White House apply $600 million in unused Ebola funding to the Zika fight to no avail. That course must be corrected. And, while I share in the support for $8 million in Zika-specific CDC funding for Florida, our state needs and deserves more.”
Dear Director Frieden:
We write to urge you to reconsider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current allocation formula for Zika-specific funds being distributed amongst U.S. states and territories. As you know, today the CDC announced that the State of Florida will receive $720,000 in new funding for detecting and monitoring microcephaly and other adverse birth outcomes as a result of Zika virus infection out of a total of $16 million that is being divided between 40 states and territories. This amounts to a paltry 4.5% of funding made available, despite the fact that almost half of all confirmed non-travel cases of the disease in the continental United States have now been linked to mosquito transmission in Florida.
Yesterday, the State of Florida’s Department of Health (FDOH) announced that the total number of Zika virus cases linked to mosquito transmission had increased to 14. This is almost half of all confirmed non-travel cases in the continental U.S., including 15 cases likely via sexual transmission, and one case via laboratory exposure. The new mosquito-related cases are currently confined to a single neighborhood in Miami-Dade County, but that serves neither as comfort to the residents of Florida, nor as a limitation to the continued transmission of the disease by mosquitoes throughout other neighborhoods across the state.
We appreciate the efforts that your agency has taken to closely coordinate with state officials, including the provision of essential emergency Zika virus antibody test kits and for the more than $8 million dollars in Zika-specific funding the CDC has already distributed to Florida. However, because of the potential for explosive spread of the virus via mosquito transmission through heavily-populated regions of the state, we urge you, in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations, to reconsider the current allocation formula for Zika-specific funds. If funds are truly allocated based on the risk of Zika virus transmission and population need, the State of Florida must receive a far greater share of available funds given the concerning developments linking new cases of the virus to local mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County. Augmented CDC funding provided to FDOH and county health and emergency preparedness departments is critical to effectively dealing with this emerging public health crisis.
Signed by all 27 Members of the U.S. House Delegation from Florida