Zika, a mosquito-transmitted infection that in pregnant women can cause microcephaly as well as other serious birth defects, has recently become a global challenge, and with the first cases of local transmission now reported in the U.S., a domestic one as well. No new funding for Zika has yet been appropriated by Congress. While the President requested emergency funding from Congress to address Zika last February, it has yet to approve any funding and its own proposals differ significantly from the President’s. As lawmakers return from summer recess and consider funding for the Zika virus again, a new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides a landscape of where the debate stands and compares the President’s emergency Zika request to Congressional proposals thus far.
The brief highlights that the President’s emergency request to Congress is significantly above the amount proposed in three Congressional bills. The proposals also differ by whether the funding would be “new” appropriations or entirely offset by changes to prior appropriations, the period of time for which funds would be available, the activities supported, and restrictions on how the funding would be utilized. In all proposals, the Department of Health and Human Services would receive the majority of resources, while the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development would receive the remaining funding.