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Senator Lankford Opposes Zika Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement today on his opposition to the Senate vote on the Conference Report for the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which provides for $1.1 billion in spending to address the Zika virus but only pays for $750 million of that total, adding an additional $350 million in debt:

“Last month, I introduced a plan that would have provided the necessary funding to address the Zika virus without growing our national debt. Today’s vote on the negotiated bill between the House and the Senate still agrees to $350 million in new federal debt spending and exceeds the previously agreed upon budget caps. I’m disappointed that between the two chambers, we are still unable to fund our nation’s response to this Zika responsibly. The Military Construction and Veterans Appropriations bill attached to Zika proposal is good policy, but I cannot support the total bill because it ignores one of America’s greatest problems—irresponsible deficit spending. We must do better than this.”

On May 18, Lankford offered an amendment to the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that would prioritize spending for a US response to Zika through unused and unobligated money already budgeted. On May 12, Senator Lankford delivered a speech on the Senate floor to urge Congress to prioritize spending with already-appropriated funding for a Zika response. Lankford also wrote an op-ed on May 10 about the importance of prioritizing spending. Lankford also delivered a floor speech on this issue.