WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Congress is working to fight Zika, but there are still questions as to how much funding it will release. The Senate passed an aid bill, but there are many who don’t think the amount is enough.
“…what we did is put forward our best estimate of what we need, and that’s what we hope what Congress will come through with at the end of the day,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The funding process is underway to combat the Zika crisis, but Frieden doesn’t think the Senate passage of a $1.1 billion is nearly enough.
"We need to start multi-year programs now to understand better, what’s the risk to mothers and children, to control mosquitos better, to come up with better tools to fight mosquitos and protect people,”said Frieden.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) , whose name was on the $1.1 billion proposal, says the Obama Administration’s requested $1.9 billion never had a chance to pass. He thinks his plan does.
"The goal is for the Congress to pass a bill and the President of the United States to sign that bill and I believe that will happen and many people, including me, are working to see that that happens,”said Blunt.
Congresswoman Gwen Graham (D-FL) is still hoping to fulfill that White House request of $1.9 billion in the House, but an amount even less than what the Senate decided on is more likely.
"For every baby that’s born that has been affected by the Zika virus, over their lifespan the cost of healthcare for that baby is $10 million. Now you can do the math, that adds up very quickly,” said Graham.
One route some lawmakers want to go is taking leftover money from the Ebola fund. Dr Frieden says robbing Peter to pay Paul is not an acceptable
"If we let down our guard fighting one battle to fight another battle, we don’t keep faith with the American people. We increase risk to this country,” said Frieden.
The House bill is expected to come up for a vote Thursday. Graham says she will vote no if the amount is insufficient.