WASHINGTON— Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), along with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation, sent a letter to President Obama demanding answers regarding the Administration's failure to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriated health prevention funding on Zika. The Zika virus is expected to have a significant impact on Texas and the local Houston area.
"The Zika virus has come to America. Our citizens have contracted the virus not only by traveling abroad, but also through domestic mosquitoes infected with Zika. Harris County has a tropical climate and a high mosquito population, making it a potential hotbed for the Zika virus. The effects of Zika in Houston could be large and long lasting. The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that as of August 5th, Texas has 96 reported cases of Zika, including three pregnant women and an infant. Fortunately these cases are not suspected to be locally acquired, although there is a possibility that Texas could see locally acquired cases soon. The President has made this health issue a political dispute, blaming Congress for not passing his Zika funding bill. The truth is Congress previously appropriated funds for health emergencies, of which nearly $400 million has not been spent. The Administration should have repurposed these funds that it already had at its disposal instead of mounting a political fight. We must use all tools available to protect not only Texas but the rest of America from the threat of the Zika virus.”
The Delegation’s letter also asks the Administration how much funding the Administration plans on specifically allocating for anti-Zika efforts in Texas. In June, the House passed a bi-partisan bill allocating an additional $1.1 billion for Zika prevention and research. Despite best efforts, the Democrats blocked the compromise bill twice.