tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 29, 2016 12:47am-2:37am EDT
to reiterate our interest the fiscal year the appropriations process. as we see it our democratic friend said we promise added only a transparent process but it's marcion's for those humble sides of the aisle to participate of funding decisions.si it is no bed with opportunity. and that is exactly what we have been doing. words appropriations process is the excellent kick off of the democrats san senator mikulski with bills passing with unanimous bipartisan votes in just a few days ago
senator mikulski said i think it is a good day. pra and then to suggest the cleanup of radioactive manes hazardous contamination across our country. and with the infrastructure in the very same people who wrote the letter. the same people who praise the bill. the very same people would give credit for amendments to the bill. democrats are more concerned with finding the acquisition
of heavy water from iran and infrastructure here from america.ne i will say that again.an it seems that democrats are more concerned with finding the acquisition of heavy water from marion than finding water infrastructurere than right here in their home country. as we all know president obama concluded the nuclear deal with iran last year it is expected about $100 billion in the obama administration admitted the everyone regime will invest in the war economy. and to strengthen the hand of the revolutionary guard to help the shia militiawarned t killing soldiers in iraq.
many of us including myself said this made little sense in terms of our strategy that included hands of iran's capability and testing ballistic missiles supplying forces to syria for the al saud regime and those within the persian gulf. so with the administration made an announcement over the past weekend it would be purchasing heavy water from iran a lot of us were f concerned. deal that the u.s. funds would be sent to iran.t's l nothing required the united states to make that purchasen in it is likely it will
amount to even more moneyy for iran to invest in the military modernization and. so to file an amendment we are appropriating to have more of these purchases in the future. in the future. and with that heavy water purchase agreement our risk. and the modernization of iran or the procurement of the ballistic missiles for america or her allies. and it would not be supported by every member of the seven. they filibuster the overall bill that passed with
unanimous bipartisan support to prevent even the possibility, even the possibility of th amendment. they could not wait one single week before throwing the wrench into the appropriations process. some of us remember the democrats to want to vote when the raid majority theyre also don't vote in the minority. sent i hope they are not dusting off the filibuster playbook especially in light of the letter they just sent to me about restoring regulars order. perhaps but they filibuster this appropriations bill then walked into a press conference about zika
funding. the appropriations process spred is the path for the funding. the administration both republicans and democrats are looking at different approaches and to move toward on the collaborativein process but the administration keeps them waiting month after month as has been the case with zika.. but progress is being made.
>> darr remember the secondon to breaking democrat and y that seems relevant. if you don't want to come to congress in vote then get a job somewhere else. so here is the message to our democratic colleagues. do your job. do your job. there are other areas were both sides could have common ground and with many important solutions already. in four families and small businesses that empowersio parents keeping washington
from imposing common core in those that will allow was infrastructure where the pay raise for our troops of him and trafficking we got a lot done last year of hard work and cooperation.sancti we got more done this year to in the past three months a we pass the korea sanctions bill to ban internet access taxes a measure to give the people more access to government records and critical legislation on prescription opiate wade and heroin epidemic. repast the most pro passenger pros security reauthorization in years the first energy legislation so
where are we? we now have the bipartisan opportunity to work through the individual funding bill. we now have a bipartisan opportunity to continue addressing funding issues like zika.erativel what will it take? >> said democratic colleagues to work cooperatively across the aisle instead. that is not too much to basket take a step back. i believe when you give senators in the people they represent us say in the legislative process they will take more of a stake in the legislative outcome. regardless of party. that is why we have been w powered committees and members to take the lead. that is how we got the senate back to work for i
think members of both parties have claimed the benefits.ss n so yes with the short-term political benefit, but i will also ask my friendsicans hv that restoring the association in process but it is what i set out to do the best way to give individual sanders of both parties more of a voice in the process how taxpayer dollars are spent. we will give an opportunity to reconsider mouches the path i know there is a much
senators who wrote the letter the everybody acknowledges what it is. but the president said he cannot sign the bill so would be to everyone's interest to simply step back to pass the bill as it existed figure out a way to embarrass the president. to my friend the republican to leader and includes of
disturbing statistics to make it clear the zika virus is a public health emergency no reason to delay. months ago the administration in power forward a strong proposal that senator reid introduced today. delay republicans didn't even take the time to consider it. and laying in on this side of further delay.have not m as a result we're getting close to mosquitos season but we still have not moved on emergency supplemental funding to prevent and treat the fire is intended to many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle:does
in to demonstrate the path how we get a bipartisan billrg signed into law but this issue is important to have insights so i urge my republican colleagues and then i hope we can live on. to talk about families and friends with the supreme court nominee but there nomination.esearch. i'm here to a tell them this is an emergency. and to get the research and the understanding to work on the
importance of the path for word of the education out there as well. >> the senator from hawaii. >> if this is an emergencye real and then i don't know what is. $1.9 zika defiance public health emergency when you have to rack now with that supplemental request.ue res id with the concern but there is no plan. that just isn't accurate. the
oh is fortunate to business cdc headquarters in atlanta zik of the is developing theci diagnostic tests that unnecessary to find out if people are carriers they're working on a vaccine with high a degree of confidence they would get a vaccine but it takes time resources with the public how about reach and this is transmitted and regarding the safety of their blood supply. $743 million for the cdc also including grants and technical assistance to help the domestic and international response activities and to increase the federal rate so they would have 500 active
transmissions him p.r. with the number continues to go up several hundred million from the national institutes of health to invest in vaccine research and development that is the end game but we have to helple prevent the transmission as the country warms up and the mosquitos become more prevalent also for vaccines and diagnostic development 335 billion from usa idea abroad to help with public health efforts but i will make some specific procedural points. is important for me we tried to move debris each individual appropriations subcommittee trying to move a regular order we would be quicker than i think in many
years but the practical fact also means we're not working on legislation that must be passed by today or next week whether energy or water we will wait for the house tot' act and conferencing it is not clear whether we will move the of put measures to the president's desk there not legislatively on the fire the kuwait 23 legislative days or weeks and are ahead of them gavectual preferred not to be have our own challenges but this defiance emergency natural public health emergency.ope of t this is what government does
every year follicles persuasion or ideology about size and scope by the greek and all agree the most basic responsibility of the federal government, this is a real risk isn't imaginary or trumped up it is then partisan if you talk to the us cc they are very, very nervous the only reason it hasn't popped is because it is still cold and mosquitos are not out of it is a real emergency there is no reasonmajy that we couldn't take us a couple of legislative days to answer the questions if
head dresses his concerns about moving one account to another with the many and they're all legitimate and they alcan be addressed. but why not get on the bill?se t although skin be addressed on the floor or in committee s there are many ways to address those but to even the knowledge it is urgent in what we are dealing withs right now that whatever we're planning to do next is not quite as urgent as the zika that is the point today. not legislative wrangling that this is a real emergency to take some action.
the senator from missouri is working very hard we don't want this to be a partisan issue. otherwise it fails to acknowledge with a serious public health emergency zika is. i yield the floor. t >> mr. president. >> this senator from s missouri. >> i am here to talk about another issue i will talk about what i am scheduled to earlier this week but with the issue of zika it does need to be dealt with. faugh it is being dealt with. the good news there was substantial money to be reprogrammed and that indicates to me there is a
genuine belief with the administration that vice chair that this is and emergency and over half of million dollars with that emergency some of that reprogramming money needs to be restored some of it doesn't the ebola crisis is not what we thought it might be better is still hitting resistance osama needs to go back but there is anybody listening to this debate thinks nothing is happening that is not accurate. y i do appreciate my friend recognized discussions are going on i was with several this week with house members and senate members. into pass a bill first that mayor may not happen but in
the of bill that gets on the president's desk. that the senate would pass the 1.9% bill as proposed and that could be on the floor for several days to work on the bill to come to the floor quickly and be passed by the house. there was a slim chance they could spend one and a billion dollar chunks and that would pass the senate i am sure that it would not pass the house. what have we gained?
but the gold is for congress to pass a bill in the president to sign it and i believe that will happen in many people will see that that happens in the majority leader knows that. in the fact that they know these discussions are ongoing and. for all what to start by expressing my a appreciation for colleagues who were joined space the board today thinking them for all the work they do every day. me as of last week the cdc reported nearly 900 cases here in united states and u.s. territories including to confirmed in my home state of washington. a recent survey shows 40 percent of adults sees
the zika by wrists as the reason to delay starting a family. those that are very frightened by the virus they want to know how to travel safely been tragically in their concern what this means for the baby they have on the way.ol and to help raise awareness of contraception and family planning to a celebrate the efforts that is why for months democrats and republicans to come to the
table and work with us to push for the strongn proposals involve some in the republican party said they wanted to work with us it is clear there beaten back by the extreme right-wing. to realize the zika is an emergency.his and as a result of that delay we're behind the eightball that is why we have come to the floor earth together to send a clear message we need action now
they should not have to for family is a and communities who were working to congress i hope republicans joining us now thank you. i yield the floor. >> it ended 2014 ebola broke out in west africa. units t in to combat the outbreak. into travel to west africa to help the sec in end contain the virus. into support the efforts country
right in the middle of the election republican senators in candidates across thecans country, and on the crisis they didn't swooped in to their rescue but they did nothing to support the response to for the election. they widely trumpeted under travel bans but only four cases were diagnosed here in united states although the republican politicians did not care they could blame the democrats and the president and were happy to do that to exploit the
situation to help win the election. it worked. not all fear mongering candidates won the most of them did in part because they promise to protect the american people from theseight e horrible contagious diseases. rapidly today there in the senate in the face a terrible threat right here in america. the rapidly spreading zika virus so i come to ask a simple question why haven't republicans listed will dash lifted a single figure? it is not confined to one small region it is spread across most of south america and through mexico ebola can only be eased transmitted with direct contact the zika can run rampant through transmission through mosquitos to raise the alarm
that zika is an imminent threat nearly 900 cases have already been reported on american soil it can be devastating most shows symptoms better myself that those infections is a condition that it attacks its own nervous system to cause permanent in zippier damage hospitalizing for weeks in killing others and in addition babies born to mothers infected with zika could have severe and permanent brain damage. the who estimates for a i million people could be infected with zika by the end of the year. the threat is real.
for weeks we have called for a emergency supplemental funding for weeks calling for emergency supplemental funding republicans have done nothing but four weeks leaders have begged congress with the resources to fight this disease and republicans have done nothing. a the president has been forced to divert funds over to work on zika that is a very short term strategy ebola has dropped out of the news but the threat has not ended we need funding for work on both but still what the republicans have done isee nothing. in now senate republicans take a weeklong recess.itical
where is the republican be plan? apparently with no immediate political benefit republicans cannot be bothered to act. forget ebola or zika they t want to go on vacation but i have news. that is not good enough. you won the election bys telling americans you woulds protect them from scenarios just like this. you are in the senate now so it is time to govern. there is a public health crisis bearing down on this country as babies will be borne permanently disabled and families will be devastated if you keep refusing to deal with this problem. it is up to you to act. this is what government is for. threats. to help protect the people of the united states from serious threat, for real threat.
republicans are failing the people of the united states. thank you madame president, i yield. >> the senator from north dakota. >> at least anyone think they are immune i don'tr think a lot of people in the united states think would called north dakota the topics.n a i hold up the first noted case of a pregnant woman affected by zika. she was traveling probably bitten by a mosquito and somehow contracted the zikahi virus and will now live in fear the baby she is carrying laddie's birth defects so where is the insert for her? the answer the north dakota epidemiologists gave don't
travel anywhere. i guess she is now leading her home because the way it is spreading that will be everywhere in united states of america. once it migrates, but will stop dead? who will stand on the floor of the senate to take responsibility for the lack of action or responding to the public health crisis? that is why we are coming here today. is the public health emergency and we don't need to rob from other epidemics like ebola to get this done. an, there isn't a citizen who doesn't say this is an obligation of that government to protect their people. we anticipate a territory of
this country, a p.r. by people travel, one at a five. do they know it? probably not. no symptoms come with the infection. in regular so now we have to respond and do what is right. we could take this and regular order. if it is a regular problem than why has the state of florida declared a state of emergency? in february. it is estimated it will. continue as a migrates it will continue to be the next big place of infection. natalie does that mean you haven't securities for
families of young women nowe iso how many generations do we have to go? we don't know. there is no test there is no way to verify. is and then look at the effect e in his having bell looked at the effects on tourism. on we know the caribbean depends on tourism dollars. we know that florida is heavily dependent. people in my office authority canceled plans for the caribbean vacations because they are afraid. what happens when everybody stays home?ite all of this is not something to
play politics.ik this is something that should unite all of us. if you don't like the president's plan, tell us. have tell us you need to change. tell us. >> what level of the account to goody. >> tell her and come together to solve the problem in the rise to the occasion. women confronted let's comeld hh together and had a note think i am exaggerating so
long sleeves, wearing slacks, wearing socks. when you're outside at a time when mosquitoes might be around. the other concerning thing about the zika mosquito is that it also is active during the day. it's not like most of the mosquitoes that we see in new hampshire which are active at night. this is a mosquito who is also active during the day. so we need to be taking action now. i listened to the head of the state lab in new hampshire talking about the challenge of getting results from the lab for people who had been tested for zika, and he said, you know, sometimes because we have to send out the labs that we don't have the capacity in new hampshire to do the analysis that's required, we're still looking for a test that can
definitively determine if somebody has had zika in the past. he said something as small as the ability to ferry the samples and the results back and forth to a lab is one of the things that we need so we can get answers so we know how to act. the folks who are trying to get information out to the public talked about the need to have support so that they could get information out both to the medical community and to individuals about the importance of what individuals need to do to take action. and they said very directly to me, as i said, you know, i appreciate that this is something that we need to work with you on in washington, they said, you know, we don't have the resources to respond to this in the way that we need to in new hampshire. and for those people who would say don't worry, you know, you're exaggerating, this is never going to come to new
hampshire, well, that's what they told us about the west nile virus, and that's what they told us about triple e, and we have had deaths in new hampshire in recent years from both of those viruses. so i think we need to act on this. i know that there has been an agreement in the appropriations committee among the appropriators on both sides of the aisle. it's been a bipartisan agreement to help get a supplemental funding bill to the floor to address this, because in new hampshire what i heard is that we need help. we need you in washington to help us. and if we're concerned about the cost of this, just think about what our inaction will do. what if we have an outbreak and we have people who -- we have thousands of women as they do in brazil who have been infected and who have had babies with microcephaly. what are the health care costs to people who might have been infected by the zika virus with
guillain-barre syndrome, with other birth defects as the result of being infected during pregnancy? so this is a bill that we can't afford to wait on. we need to address this. if folks are not willing to do it because it's the right thing to do, they ought to be willing to do it because it's the cost-effective thing to do. madam president, i hope we can get together. i know people on both sides of the aisle are concerned about this. we need to come together. we need to address this. it is a pending public health emergency and we've got to respond. thank you very much. i yield the floor. ms. hirono: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: madam president, i rise to join my colleagues in raising awareness about the zika virus and the need to pass the president's emergency
appropriation request to get ahead of this crisis in the making. some question the need for this emergency appropriation request. perhaps those who believe that funding the president's request is a waste feel that we are not at immediate risk, but you've heard my other colleagues talking about how this is an impending crisis. so while zika may not seem like a threat in the united states now because we have not hit peak mosquito season, the mentality is irresponsible. zika is ravaging south america which is having its summer right now. zika is on the move. the mosquito that is the main zika carrier is already in 13 states and another mosquito also capable of spreading the zika virus is in 30 states. as families travel this summer, they will be moving in and out of states and countries impacted
by zika. so to my colleagues who aren't worried about the spread of zika right now, it's time for all of us to wake up. with summer comes mosquitoes, including, of course, the mosquito carrying zika. and we must do all we can to ensure that zika does not gain a foot hold in the united states. let's act, not react, to this zika threat. this means funding the president's $1.9 billion request for zika. hawaii knows firsthand the impact of vector borne diseases like zika and of the resources and efforts it takes to contain an outbreak. seven hawaii residents have already been diagnosed with zika. one mother with zika has an infant born with microencephaly. on top of that hawaii has been dealing with an outbreak of a
fever spread by the same mosquito that carries zika. the denge outbreak began in september and only yesterday were we able to go 30 days without a new denge case. the unique location of hawaii means it serves as transit location for many pacific island nations where zika outbreaks occurred in the past. places like french poll knee shah. we know this disease can migrate and migrate quickly. that's why we have to get ahead of it. having the administration shift ebola funding around is not the answer. that is akin to robbing peter to pay paul. what will we do if ebola also has a resurgence this summer in shift money back from zika? the united states is in a strong position compared to many other countries to fight zika. we have in development vaccines, blood screenings, cleaning tools
and research that will be game changers. when the president sent his $1.9 billion request to congress, he laid out how the funding would be spent or used. it would go toward vector control, public education campaigns and vaccine development. it would toward the work of companies like hawaii biotech which is racing to complete work on a vaccine. we must fund the emergency request so federal agencies that stand on the battle lines of combatting disease can do their work. we must also strengthen vector control programs and emergency preparedness programs. it's imperative that we give our communities the tools they need to fight zika. time is still on our side right now, but time is running out and we must act quickly. let's come together to ensure that zika does not become a full-blown public health emergency in the united states. let's fund the president's
request. i yield the floor. ms. heitkamp: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, i rise to discuss this public health emergency. i'm honored to be here with senator murray and mikulski and heitkamp and hirono as we look at this serious crisis facing our nation, and that is the zika virus. the world health organization has declared that zika is spreading explosively and will affect nearly all countries in north and south america. the virus has already infected nearly 400 americans who have traveled abroad from 40 states, including my home state of minnesota. over 500 people in puerto rico have the disease. nearly all of them contracted the virus locally. these numbers will only continue to grow as the warmer months bring more mosquitoes that transmit this disease. in fact, researchers calculate that 60% of the people in our
country live in an area that will likely be affected. zika is a rapidly evolving mosquito-borne virus. most infected patients develop mild flu like symptoms that last for a week. however, the virus has devastated consequences for growing families. researchers have confirmed what many feared was true: a pregnant woman infected with zika is at risk of giving birth to a child with microencephaly. this heartbreaking lifelong condition results in newborns with abnormally small heads. these children will need increased access to health care and developmental services, speech, occupational, physical therapies. there is no known cure for this disease or even standard treatment for this condition. it is crucial that physicians have the knowledge and tools essential to diagnose and care for pregnant women who may be infected with zika. it is crucial that moms with zika and children with microencephaly have access to
the services they need. it is crucial that we take steps now to ensure that our health care system and all levels of government are prepared for the imminent spread of the zika virus. we are here today to continue to stress the urgent need to ensure our country is as prepared as possible to mitigate the spread of zika and respond to outbreaks of this virus. the administration submitted a request for nearly $2 billion in emergency funds to provide immediate support. this is about research. this is about a vaccine. this is about therapeutics and diagnostics. this is about a medical health crisis that primarily, but not only, affects women and children. and that is why the women democrats of the senate have gathered here today to speak out, to speak out and say this is a crisis that must be funded. this is a crisis that must be responded to. and simply because it mainly affects women and children right
now, and we have no idea what other effects it will have, this is no reason to shirk our duties in the congress and not fund this. our foremost duty is to protect the health and safety of americans. zika is a rapidly evolving disease with severe public health implications. i ask my colleagues to support this effort. we cannot afford to delay action. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: madam president, i rise to take the floor as the vice chair of the appropriations committee. and really urge that we adopt an urgent supplemental request to deal with the zika threat here. this is real. it's been two months since the administration sent to congress
an emergency supplemental. we can't wait any longer. the mosquitoes are here. they're actually here. they're here in the united states of america. and i've said first with wit and now with deep concern, you can't build a wall to keep the mosquitoes out. the mosquitoes aren't going to pay for this. we need to act, and we need to act now. this is a compelling public health crisis, and we can do something about it. we take an oath to defend all americans against enemies foreign and domestic. this is about to be a self-inflicted wound on our own people because of our failure to act with no reliable tested public health interventions on mosquito control. we've got to take action to do
this. and why? because as of april 20, there have been close to 900 cases confirmed in the united states of america. we already know that they are in three states. c.d.c. knows that it is going to come to at least 30 states in our own country. and it will have incredible consequences, particularly to women. now i have heard over the years many eloquent, poignant and even wrenching speeches about protecting the unborn. and they have been deeply moving. we've tried to always find common ground on this. but if you are really for defending the unborn, you've got to pass this supplemental. there are women all over the united states, particularly in
these three vulnerable states, there are women in puerto rico who are wondering if they're already pregnant, what is their situation. there are young women and not so young women who are concerned about getting pregnant at the same time bitten by a mosquito for which there are sparse resources to do mosquito control. now we want to build fences to keep out illegal aliens. okay. we want to bomb the hell out of isis and terrorists. we should because we're worried that they're coming at us. in many of those instances these are problems that have been difficult to solve. this is not difficult to solve. this is about mosquito control. and i am very concerned that we are just sitting around, that when all is said and done more is getting said than gets done.
we are talking about an emergency supplemental. now, the appropriations committee has a very clear set of criteria for what is an emergency. first of all, it has to be urgent. well, the mosquito season is here. it has to be unforeseen. this was unforeseen. and it's temporary. it's mosquito season. it is a confined season. and we can do something about it. and we must do something about it. it will have a disproportionate impact on pregnant women and the unborn, children born with the most horrendous, heartbreaking birth defects. you know, i'm of the generation that was the polio generation. my mother wouldn't let my sisters and i go swimming until after june 20 because somehow or
another it was in our faith st. john's day and we thought the water would be warmer. maybe the saint blessed the water. god bless the saints. but god bless people like dr. salk and god bless america that funded the salk vaccines. i remember children in iron lungs. children in iron lungs to be kept alive. children with braces and then walked with these very difficult canes. and some of them bear -- those who survive bear this the rest of their life. look at what we're facing here. and we know it. this is not unknown nor is it unmanageable. it will be a national disgrace if we don't act. now in my own home state, i have a republican governor, governor larry hogan. and guess what? governor hogan is acting. this isn't about democrats or
republicans. governor hogan acted. he declared april 24 through the 30th zika awareness week and he's ordered his health department to coordinate educational events with local health departments. they also spent $130,000 of state money to develop 10,000 transmission kits to begin to deal with this. my republican governor has taken action. then also in anne arundel county, the county that's the home of the state capital, again, headed up by a republican county executive, they received 850 kits. they're going to have town hall meetings to talk about health and agricultural -- with agricultural officials on prevention in mosquito control. republican governor, republican county executive acting. then there's a county called howard county where the health department is planning to distribute 450 kits to obstetric
and gynecological practices to protect pregnant women. again, a republican county executive working with his administration is taking action, spending local money when this is a national problem. so i'm saying this because my own governor is acting, these county executives and men in baltimore city with a democratic mayor. she listened to the warnings coming from the world health organization, the c.d.c. and the bloomberg school of public health in baltimore and has again taken action where baltimore is now spraying and taking mosquito control efforts and so on, spending over $500,000 of local money for which we don't have a lot.
so hello, maryland is acting. we need to act. so i say this because we're spending local money to deal with the national and international problem. so please, let us now whatever differences we have with other bills, please let's take up this urgent supplemental. madam president, i yield the floor and i know the republican -- the majority leader is here. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that at 1:45 p.m. today, the senate agree to the motion to proceed to the motion to reconsider the cloture vote on amendment number 3801, the motion to reconsider the cloture vote on the amendment number 3801 and the senate then vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the alexander substitute amendment number 3801 upon reconsideration. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
mr. rubio: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: madam president, two topics i want to talk about today, actually three. but i wanted to begin with the zika virus. a few weeks ago, i went back to florida on a friday and i sat down and met with officials from the department of health from florida. i met with leaders from puerto rico on the health sector. i met with doctors that live in miami-dade county and also officials of miami-dade county. they are freaked out about the zika thing. i don't know any other term to use. if they are freaked out, then i'm very concerned about it as well. and that's why i do support fully and immediately funding the situation, and i have asked our colleagues to do so as quickly as possible. i can only speak -- i want to speak briefly about the florida experience with this. and there is two things that are deeply concerning and then i will speak about some of the things we should be doing. first, the summer months are upon us. anybody who has been in florida in the summer, particularly -- summer has already started basically in florida if you go outside. the spread of mosquitoes as a threat virtually everywhere in the state is massive.
it's just a way of life. and the notion that there is this very deadly disease that we're still learning about, by the way. just a few weeks ago, they said zika only impacts a small population of people, a very significant population of people. we're learning that this disease impacts whoever it touches. you don't have to -- first of all, you have to be symptomatic -- you don't have to be symptomatic to spread it. there are multiple ways. in florida alone, we have had two cases of sexually transmitted. by the way, it's just a matter of time before someone in florida gets bit by a mosquito. it's just a matter of days, weeks, hours before you will open up a newspaper, turn on the news and it will say someone in the continental united states was bit by a mosquito and they contracted zika. and when that happens, then everyone is going to be freaked out, not just me and not just for the people that work for the health department in florida. this is going to happen. there are way too many mosquitoes to avoid it. the second that miami-dade in particular but a lot of florida is a transit point for all of latin america. for example, one of the places most impacted by zika is brazil.
this summer there is an olympics in brazil. there are going to be hundreds of thousands of people that cross through florida to get to brazil and back on top of the normal number of travelers. it is just a matter of time. it is not a question of if. it is a question of when. so i look at this from the senate perspective and say we are going to fund this. we are going to spend money on zika in washington, d.c. number one, because we should. it is the obligation of the federal government to keep our people safe, and this is an imminent and real threat to the public safety and security of our nation and of our people. so the money is going to be spent. and the question is do we do it now before this has become a crisis or do we wait for it to become a crisis? and maybe that crisis happens in august when everyone is back home doing their campaign stuff or maybe it happens on monday when everyone is back home doing whatever they do on recess. and then you're all going to get pulled back here to deal with this immediately. i want to know what you're going to say to someone when you say hey, this zika thing has been in the news for months. now there is a case, and it can be any state in the country, any
state in the country. oh, it's only in certain states that are warm. that's not true. it can be in any state in the country. i want to know what people are going to say when this happens and they ask what did you do about it? well, i had real problems, i wanted to make sure this and that. this is a serious thing. people's lives are at stake here. by the way, this is now emanating into all sorts of other threats. it was mentioned earlier about guillain-barre. we know the birth defects are very significant. do you know what the cost effects are going to be of all this? do people know what guillain-barre is? it is a debill waiting and often fatal disease. the cost of treating that is extraordinary. it's possible at the end of the day $1.9 billion isn't even enough. we don't know but we have to start. number one, we don't have a commercially available plan to test for zika. you can't just go to quest diagnostics and get a zika test. it doesn't exist. if florida, if you want to get a zika test, you have to go through the state department of health. number one. number two, a lot of people are not being tested because they
are not a pregnant woman so they don't think they have to be tested. false. if you have traveled, i don't care who you are, how old you are, if you have traveled at this point where there are mosquitoes in significant amounts, you probably should be tested, if you have traveled abroad into these danger zones because you can transmit it. you can be carrying it and not see manifestations of it for a while. there is no commercially available plan. they talk about mosquito control. mosquito control, they have only been trying that for thousands of years. mosquitoes have outlasted everything. it's important. it has to be a part of it. one of the two mosquitoes that spread zika is resistant to pesticides. it has become resistant to the pesticides. that's why there needs to be new technologies developed. there are some innovative ways out there to cut down on the mosquito population. there is an innovative program now that is trying to start a pilot program in the keys. that should be a part of this conversation. researchers are pretty confident that this kind of disease, given its pathology, they can find a vaccine for it. maybe not next week, but they
can find a vaccine for it. but you know what? the government has a role to play in basic research that allows the private sector to commercialize that and make that possible. i understand that we want this money to be accountable. i believe that, i do. i think the administration should come forward and say here is our plan, here is where every penny is going to be spent. we should hold them to account. i think this should be dealt with with a sense of urgency. because i honestly believe -- i don't believe, i know it's just a matter of time before there is a mosquito-borne transmission. by the way, does it really matter how you got it, whether it's a mosquito or sexually transmitted? you have zika. it acts the exact same way once you have it. but it's just a matter of time br there is a mosquito-borne transmission in the continental united states. i also, not that anyone here has said that, but i have heard others say there is no cases of it yet transmitted from a mosquito in the united states. that is false. puerto rico is in the united states. puerto ricans are american
citizens. by the way, they travel in huge numbers to and from the united states. many are moving here. many work here during the week and travel back on the weekends. this is a catastrophe in puerto rico right now, which is a united states territory and its people are american citizens, and they are facing a catastrophe right now on this issue. so i hope that there is real urgency about dealing with this. i understand this is not a political issue. there is no such thing as a republican position on zika or democrat position on zika because these mosquitoes bite everyone. and they're not going to ask you what your party registration is or who you plan to vote for in november. this is a real threat, and it is not just the tropical states. they may feel it first, but any state that has any significant travel, which is basically all 50 states of the union in a country where people travel extensively across the country and around the world, we are going to face the zika problem in this country this summer and fall. and i just -- my advice to my colleagues is we're going to deal with this, and i hope we deal with it at the front end, because not only is it better for our people, it's better for
you. you're going to have to explain to people why it is that we sat around for weeks and did nothing on something of this magnitude. the second topic i wanted to -- mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: if the senator would just yield for a moment before he goes to his second topic? i want to thank the senator from florida for joining the women of the senate here today to bring attention to such a critical issue and to extend our hand. we want to work with you, we believe this is an emergency, we want to deal with it quickly and appreciate your comments and your support this morning. mr. rubio: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, and i appreciate your advocacy and i do look forward to working with you on this as well and hopefully we can get a result on this. you know, there is going to be recess now. that means ten days people go back to their home states. i hope during the next ten days when we come back a week from monday, they will say we have go