Bay Ridge

Reichard blasts Donovan over Zika funding

Democrat charges GOP not serious about providing money

August 15, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Democratic congressional candidate Richard Reichard charged that the GOP Zika funding bill contained a “poison pill.” Photo courtesy of Reichard’s campaign

Democratic congressional candidate Richard Reichard charged incumbent Republican Dan Donovan with hypocrisy in the nation’s fight to contain the dangerous Zika virus in the most explosive development yet in the race for the Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island House seat.

Reichard said Donovan accused House and Senate Democrats with inaction on a major funding bill put forth by the Republicans when in reality, the GOP-sponsored legislation is “a poison pill laden bill” that does not actually fund the battle against Zika. 

The bill reallocates needed Ebola money to Zika, weakens the Clean Water Act and prohibits funding toward preventing pregnancies with the potential of Zika-related birth defects, according to Reichard. 

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The Republican bill would also permit Confederate flags to fly at military cemeteries, he added.

“Ebola has been contained, not eradicated. Taking money away from Ebola prevention is short-sighted. It has been proven that the Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, cutting off funding to organizations that provides contraceptive services is therefore irresponsible. By weakening the Clean Water Act the Republicans have once again proven that they will use any crisis to weaken environmental regulations,” said Reichard, a former human resources director for the New York City Department of Finance. 

Reichard is hoping to unseat Donovan in the Nov. 8 election in the 11th Congressional District.

Donovan’s campaign issued a statement defending the lawmaker and blasting Reichard.”Once again, Mr. Reichard is offering a dishonest representation of the facts. Congressman Donovan and his colleagues approved $1.1 billion to combat Zika, while the House and Senate Democrats continue to play election-year games. Shame on Mr. Reichard for following Nancy Pelosi’s playbook misrepresenting a public health issue to score political points. This is exactly what people hate about politics,” the statement read.

In addition, the congressman’s spokesperson released a statement in which Donovan praised a decision by the Obama Administration to re-direct Ebola funds to the Zika fight. “I’m glad the Obama administration finally heeded the common-sense requests from me and other Members of Congress to reallocate existing funds to Zika research and response. It’s disappointing it took this long. Frankly, expecting mothers don’t care that it’s an election year. Hopefully we can now move forward together and tackle this crisis head on,” Donovan stated.

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On July 13, Donovan urged President Barack Obama to reallocate funds to the Zika response. On July 19, Donovan announced that Zika vaccine development was in jeopardy due to federal inaction.

Donovan serves as chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website, www.cdc.gov, lists a total of 1,955 travel-related cases of Zika in the U.S. as of Aug. 10. There were six locally acquired cases, all in Florida. Twenty-two Zika cases in the country were contracted through sexual contact, according to the CDC website.

New York state had 530 travel-related cases of Zika as of Aug. 10.

Zika has been linked to birth defects in infants, including microcephaly, in which babies are born with smaller than normal heads and severe brain damage.

 


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