News Releases

According to the CDC, there are more than 1,400 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. and the three territories, including four reported cases in Washington state 

New study says the odds of having a child with microcephaly as a result of a Zika infection could be higher than previously thought 

Murray: “…we should do everything we can to tackle this virus without any further delay.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor urging Congress to immediately pass the necessary emergency funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. The Senate has already acted and voted overwhelmingly to advance Senator Murray’s bipartisan agreement to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding. Murray continues to urge Senate Republicans to send the funding package as a standalone bill to the House of Representatives for a vote, and for House Republicans to agree to send the bipartisan Senate agreement to the President’s desk.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“…just today, the Washington Post reported that according to a new study, the odds of having a child with microcephaly as a result of a Zika infection could be higher than previously thought, as high as 13 percent for women infected early in their pregnancies. The researchers who conducted this study urged health care systems to “prepare for an increased burden of adverse pregnancy outcomes in the coming years. M. President, the CDC is already monitoring almost 300 expecting mothers for possible Zika infections. And those numbers are unfortunately only expected to grow.”

“This is a public health emergency and it demands action.”

“M. President—this is no time for quid-pro-quo politics. It’s a time to protect families. So I’m going to ask again that my Senate Republicans reconsider and join us to get this bill to the House. There, I hope that House Republicans will drop their partisan, underfunded bill and give this bipartisan agreement a vote. And then I hope that the President can sign it and we can get a serious response to this emergency underway. Families and communities are expecting us to act—parents are wondering whether their babies will be born safe and healthy, and here in Congress, we should do everything we can to tackle this virus without any further delay.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks: 

“M. President, it’s now been months since President Obama first put forward a strong emergency funding proposal to respond to the Zika virus.

“More than 1400 cases of Zika have been reported in the United States and territories.

“And just today, the Washington Post reported that according to a new study, the odds of having a child with microcephaly as a result of a Zika infection could be higher than previously thought, as high as 13 percent for women infected early in their pregnancies.

“The researchers who conducted this study urged health care systems to “prepare for an increased burden of adverse pregnancy outcomes in the coming years.”

“M. President, the CDC is already monitoring almost 300 expecting mothers for possible Zika infections.

“And those numbers are unfortunately only expected to grow.

“This is a public health emergency and it demands action.

“M. President, while it shouldn’t have taken so long—Democrats and Republicans have been able to agree on a bipartisan downpayment on the President’s proposal, which could get emergency funding into the hands of first responders and researchers right away.

“But we passed that agreement last week—and unfortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere since.

“Senate Democrats have urged our Republican colleagues to work with us on sending our bipartisan agreement to the House for a vote, but they’ve said they’ll only agree to do that if we agree to Affordable Care Act cuts.

“M. President—this is no time for quid-pro-quo politics. It’s a time to protect families.

“So I’m going to ask again that my Senate Republicans reconsider and join us to get this bill to the House.

“There, I hope that House Republicans will drop their partisan, underfunded bill and give this bipartisan agreement a vote.

“And then I hope that the President can sign it and we can get a serious response to this emergency underway.

“Families and communities are expecting us to act—parents are wondering whether their babies will be born safe and healthy, and here in Congress, we should do everything we can to tackle this virus without any further delay.”

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