WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) today led 33 of their congressional colleagues – including all Democrats from the Arizona congressional delegation – in sending a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urging immediate action on a Zika funding supplemental that includes dedicated funding for tribal communities. The letter reads, in part:
Tribal communities are among the most at-risk for tick- and mosquito-borne diseases.
While Indian Health Service (HIS) has identified vector-borne disease control as one of its national priorities, it does not currently have the staffing or resources to undertake needed control operations.
An emergency funding supplemental to address this health crisis should be brought to a vote without further delay.
“There is no excuse for congressional inaction in the face of the mounting threat posed by the Zika virus,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Now is the time to ensure funding for a robust response that will stave off the worst impacts of this virus, including in our often overlooked native populations. Tribal communities are among those most susceptible to vector-borne diseases, and many live in the geographic front lines of the Zika virus’s range. Congress must ensure our nation is equipped and prepared to respond to this threat – that means providing funding for those efforts without delay.”
“While Zika is a growing threat in many parts of the globe, I’m particularly concerned about vulnerable communities like the 12 Native American tribes in my Arizona district. We must ensure they have the resources and funding to fight Zika and other vector-borne diseases,” Rep. Kirkpatrick said. “Congress has a responsibility to stand up for our tribes and prioritize communities that are at high risk for public health threats. I urge leadership to immediately hold a vote on emergency funding.”
The full text of the letter is available here.