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Administration Responds to Senators Lankford and Grassley Zika Inquiry, But Doesn’t Answer Questions Regarding Available Funds

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Monday, Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pressed the Obama Administration on why it appears that billions of dollars in unobligated funds aren’t being directed to a Zika response. The Administration, via Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, responded but did not address the Senators’ questions about redirecting billions of dollars of available funds to the Zika response. Grassley and Lankford made the following comment on the response:

“The Administration is quick to seek more money for the Zika response but stonewalls questions on why existing funds can’t be redirected to the response. It also declines to explain why the whole apparatus that’s in place to protect against these kinds of outbreaks seems to be caught so flat-footed by Zika. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response are funded to handle public health threats. How are they using their resources here? Responding to Zika is critically important, and failing to respond to legitimate funding questions hurts the cause and the Administration’s credibility.  We’ll continue to push the Administration to look for money it already has to combat Zika.”

The Senators’ letter to HHS is available here.  HHS’ response is available here