Darren Soto's Proposal Giving CDC More Funds, Authority Against Mosquitoes Passes House
This week, the U.S. House passed U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s, D-Fla., proposal to help the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government agencies at the state and local levels.
Back in March 2017 Soto unveiled the “Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act.” According to Soto’s office, the bill “supports and expands programs for mosquito-borne and vector-borne disease, surveillance and control” by extending CDC grants to battle mosquitoes through 2023 and ensuring those grants are more focused on battling mosquito-borne diseases, prioritizing areas facing health crises.
The House backed Soto’s proposal for $100 million for mosquito control programs and reauthorizing the CDC’s epidemiology-laboratory capacity grants program at $40 million a year until the 2023 fiscal year.
Talking about why he had brought out the bill, Soto pointed to the Zika problems Florida faced last year.
“During the recent outbreak of Zika, instead of strengthening this program, Congress decided to provide money solely for mosquito control to combat Zika. When that money runs out, that’s it,” Soto said. “Instead of waiting for another crisis necessitating another expensive one-off Band-Aid bill, we should make the urgent investments needed to maintain the tools we already have.”
Soto rounded up more than a dozen co-sponsors from the Sunshine State. Florida Republican Congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Matt Gaetz quickly got behind the bill followed by Brian Mast and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. So did ten congressional Democrats from the Sunshine State as U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson lined up as co-sponsors.
The Central Florida Democrat’s proposal was included in U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks’, R-Ind.,reauthorizing programs included in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act which passed the House on a voice vote. There is a related proposal from U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, over in the Senate.
Soto weighed in on the matter on Wednesday morning.
“Infectious diseases cause by mosquitoes, like Zika and West Nile virus, continue to be a growing threat to public health,” Soto said. “That’s why it’s crucial to study the impact and prevention programs for mosquito-borne and other vector-borne diseases, and this bill accomplishes these goals. We’re proud this bipartisan legislation passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives. With the support from Senator Angus King, leading the bill in the Senate, we are encouraged this legislation is one step closer to becoming law.”
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