Soto Passes $100M Zika, Vector-Borne Diseases Prevention Bill Through House
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 1310 the “Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Act” or SMASH Act, a bill introduced by Congressman Darren Soto to support and expand programs for mosquito-borne and vector-borne disease surveillance and control. The bill was passed as part of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018.
“Infectious diseases cause by mosquitoes, like Zika and West Nile virus, continue to be a growing threat to public health,” stated Rep. Soto. “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!”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working closely with state and local health departments, monitors the potential sources and outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease and provides advice and consultation on prevention and control of the diseases. Rep. Soto’s SMASH Act passed today supports the CDC in several ways:
- Authorizes $100 million for the mosquito control programs.
- Reauthorizes the CDC’s epidemiology-laboratory capacity grants program through FY2023 and funds it at $40 million per year.
- Amends the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend through FY2023 CDC grants for mosquito control programs.
- The grant program is expanded so that grants may be used to address emerging, infectious mosquito-borne diseases and to improve existing control programs.
- The CDC must give preference to applicants that have: (1) a public health emergency due to a mosquito-borne disease, or (2) a control program that is consistent with existing state preparedness plans.
- The requirement for matching funds may be waived if the area covered by a grant applicant has an extreme need due to the size or density of the human population, the size or density of the mosquito population, or the severity of the mosquito-borne disease.
In 2003, after the emergence of West Nile, Congress passed the Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (MASH) Act. Since most mosquito control programs are executed at the local level, MASH authorized matching grants to local efforts to fight, control, and eliminate mosquitos, which in turn prevented the spread of West Nile. The MASH Act provided the flexibility to fight multiple viruses spread by mosquitos – West Nile, chikungunya, dengue fever, and even Zika. During the recent outbreak of Zika, instead of strengthening this program, the Congress decided to cap funds solely to combat Zika, rather than investing in preventing future outbreaks. H.R.1310 makes the urgent investments needed to maintain the tools we already have to combat these diseases in the long run.
Rep. Soto hosted a roundtable along with Rep. Stephanie Murphy on Zika and other infectious diseases at
the University of Central Florida’s Burnett School of Biomedical Science in the Fall 2017.
The bill is co-sponsored by: Rep Castor, Kathy [D-FL-14], Rep Chu, Judy [D-CA-27], Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO-5], Rep Crist, Charlie [D-FL-13], Rep Curbelo, Carlos [R-FL-26], Rep Demings, Val Butler [D-FL-10], Rep Denham, Jeff [R-CA-10], Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-22], Rep Frankel, Lois [D-FL-21], Rep Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2], Rep Gaetz, Matt [R-FL-1], Rep Garamendi, John [D-CA-3], Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [D-IL-4], Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20], Rep Lawson, Al, Jr. [D-FL-5], Rep Lewis, John [D-GA-5], Rep Mast, Brian J. [R-FL-18], Rep Meng, Grace [D-NY-6], Rep Murphy, Stephanie N. [D-FL-7], Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32], Rep Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO-7], Rep Plaskett, Stacey E. [D-VI], Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL-27], Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D-CA-40], Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH-1], Rep Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15], Rep Vela, Filemon [D-TX-34], Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23], Rep Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ-12], Rep Wilson, Frederica S. [D-FL-24].
With the passage of this legislation, Congressman Soto has now passed 6 bills out of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 115th Congress. For more information on Rep. Soto’s legislative accomplishments, visit: https://soto.house.gov/legislation.