ZikaActionThe American Public Health Association issued a strong rebuke to Congress yesterday for failing to pass legislation that properly addresses the Zika outbreak — without cutting funding for other important public health priorities.

A House-passed measure, which fell far short of providing appropriate emergency funding for a worldwide public health emergency, was blocked in the Senate Tuesday. The agreement, which APHA opposed, did not provide comprehensive support for the numerous layers of Zika response, including contraception for women who wish to avoid pregnancy. It also would have taken money away from other vital public health priorities, like ongoing Ebola prevention, protection and response activities.

“It’s beyond time for Congress to come together to address this,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “We’ve seen this coming from a mile away. There are nearly 1,000 cases in the U.S. already and it could get much more severe if we don’t get serious about slowing the outbreak immediately. We’re hopeful that Congress will put measures in place to stop the spread of Zika without compromising other public health safeguards.”

It has been four months since President Barack Obama and public health experts requested $1.9 billion to bolster the U.S. response to Zika.

“We urge the House and Senate to quickly regroup and develop a bipartisan approach that will appropriately combat this dangerous outbreak,” Benjamin said.

Time is running short. The House and Senate are in session only two weeks following the Fourth of July recess before heading back home until after Labor Day.

To urge Congress to act on Zika, contact your senators and representative.