McConnell Encourages Senate Democrats to Support Critical Veterans Funding, Anti-Zika Efforts
Zika Efforts ‘Keeping Americans safe and healthy should be a top priority for all of us…Democrats should work with us to pass Zika control funding again, not block funding for combatting this virus…We also have an opportunity to support our veterans…We should vote now to get this critical veterans funding to the President’s desk.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need to advance important bipartisan funding measures to address Zika and support veterans:
“Combatting the spread of the Zika virus has been a priority for both parties. So Republicans and Democrats deliberated and forged a compromise in committee. Senators debated that $1.1 billion compromise on the floor and voted to pass it. Every single Democrat voted for it.
“We went to a conference committee, and the House agreed to fully fund the Senate-passed funding level. Now, with the House’s action last night, we have a chance to send $1.1 billion in Zika funding to the President’s desk.
“This agreement will allow us to focus on immediate needs, like mosquito control while also providing resources for longer-term goals like a vaccine. It also takes a broader view that U.S. experts should also have the ability to address other emerging mosquito-borne diseases too.
“The Administration has called for Congress to take action on Zika by July 4th. They have warned of dire consequences if Congress fails to act. Many of our colleagues here have raised similar concerns.
“The House did its part, now the Senate needs to do its part — and this agreement represents our only chance to put Zika control money to work now. And again: It contains the exact same amount of Zika funding passed by the Senate last month with the vote of every single Senate Democrat.
“Keeping Americans safe and healthy should be a top priority for all of us. We know pregnant women are at particular risk. Democrats should work with us to pass Zika control funding again, not block funding for combatting this virus.
“Phony excuses and made-up objections to the funding we’ve already passed won’t help create a vaccine or eradicate the threat of Zika.
“We also have an opportunity to support our veterans. This agreement substantially increases critical resources to ensure veterans receive benefits and health care they’ve earned.
“It will enhance oversight and accountability at the VA. It will help improve quality of life on military bases for soldiers and their families. It will also advance critical national security projects like missile defense.
“The Senate voted overwhelmingly to support ideas like these last month too. We should vote now to get this critical veterans funding to the President’s desk.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Veterans, Zika Virus