Health Center Federal Policy

Senate Moving Forward With Zika Package

By: Michaela Keller

Last week, the Senate announced a bipartisan agreement to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus. This agreement, brokered by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA), will be one of three Zika funding amendments offered during debate on an unrelated appropriations bill, scheduled to begin on Tuesday.  The amendment includes several provisions of interest to health centers .

The Senate proposal includes $51 million in resources for HRSA: $40 million for Health Centers in Puerto Rico and other territories; $6 million for National Health Service Corps placements and loan repayment in Puerto Rico and other territories; $5 million for Maternal and Child Health Block Grant funds to Puerto Rico and other territories.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee, led by Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), introduced legislation to provide $622.1 million to respond to the Zika virus through the duration of the current fiscal year, or until the end of September. The House proposal does not call for funds to HRSA. The funding is offset by repurposing $352.1 million from unobligated and unspent resources left over from the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and $270 million in unused administrative funding within HHS. Floor action on the bill is expected later this week.