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Mayors Urge Congress to Break Zika GridlockMayors Urge Congress to Break Zika Gridlock<div class="ExternalClassD0899A0B5C7B41EBBA246A7A4BECD687"><div>​PHOENIX/MIAMI – A coalition of more than 75 bipartisan mayors from across the United States – led by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine – today urged Congress to break its gridlock and pass emergency funding to combat the Zika virus. With lawmakers returning from their August recess and the dangerous mosquito-borne virus recently detected in the continental United States, the Mayors told Congressional leaders that there is no more time to waste.</div><div><br></div><div>The group of mayors, which included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, expressed their urgent concern in a <a href="/Documents/9-9-16%20Final%2077%20Mayors_%20Letter%20to%20Congressional%20Leadership%20on%20Zika.pdf"><strong>letter </strong></a>to Congressional leaders sent earlier today. </div><div><br></div><div>“September is peak mosquito season, and your communities are counting on you,” said Mayor Levine. “Cities and local governments stand ready to work with federal health officials to control mosquito populations and contain the outbreak, but the funding roadblocks must be removed immediately.”</div><div><br></div><div>President Obama made his request for $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding in February. Since then, “persistent inaction” by Congress has forced the National Institutes of Health to divert $670 million from other priorities – including $10 million for cancer and heart disease – to fund Zika research. That funding runs out at the end of this month, the mayors’ <a href="/Documents/9-9-16%20Final%2077%20Mayors_%20Letter%20to%20Congressional%20Leadership%20on%20Zika.pdf"><strong>letter</strong></a> stated.</div><div><br></div><div>“Zika is no longer an abstract threat in the United States,” said Mayor Stanton. “While Congress has done nothing, nearly 1,600 pregnant women in the United States and our territories have tested positive for Zika – putting their fetuses at tremendous risk of debilitating birth defects -- and there have been nearly 17,000 cases overall. Communities across the country are looking to Congress for leadership. The inaction has to end now.”</div><div><br></div><div>“New York City is deeply proud of our aggressive and comprehensive Zika response,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Though the mosquito carrying Zika has not been identified here, nearly a quarter of all positive cases in the continental United States are in New York. As a global city, we must continue to act aggressively with the full support of our federal government.”</div><div><br></div><div>New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “The Zika virus is an extremely serious public health threat, which is why we developed a comprehensive plan focused on prevention through intensive mosquito control efforts and public outreach. Local governments are leading the Zika response on the ground, but we need more federal resources to sustain our aggressive response. In May, I testified before members of Congress urging them to act because time is of the essence. It is vital that President Obama’s request for federal funds be approved so that we can stay ahead of this threat, just like we would with any other danger to the homeland, whether it is ISIS or Ebola.”</div><div><br></div><div>If Congress again fails to act, states and communities won’t have the funding needed to fight Zika; vaccine development could be delayed; and testing may not be available to everyone who needs it.</div><div><br></div><div><a href="/Documents/9-9-16%20Final%2077%20Mayors_%20Letter%20to%20Congressional%20Leadership%20on%20Zika.pdf"><strong>See the joint letter to Congress.  </strong></a></div><div><br></div><div style="text-align:center;"><strong>--30--</strong></div></div>9/13/2016 6:10:00 PMRobbie Sherwood 480-246-7944