WHERE’S JOHNNY? Back in Washington After Taking Recess While Zika Funding Stalls

CDC says it will run out of money to combat the virus at the end of September.

ATLANTA – Last July, in midst of a Washington political fight over funding to address the deadly Zika virus, Senator Johnny Isakson said “it will be professional malpractice if we leave here for seven weeks and have not dealt with this.” Today, after a seven-week recess, the Senate will go back into regular session without a passed Zika funding bill. While Senator Isakson was on his taxpayer funded recess vacation, Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta, warned that “The cupboard is bare [to combat Zika]. Basically, we’re out of money, and we need Congress to act to allow us to respond effectively.” The Republican spending package championed by Senator Isakson offers $800 million less than requested by the President to address the deadly virus and “exclude[s] Planned Parenthood from the list of providers that get new funding for contraception to combat spread of the virus, which can be sexually transmitted.”

“Senator Isakson is right that ‘Zika funding is not a political game,’ but the facts remain that he went on a taxpayer funded recess vacation instead of acting to address the Zika virus – a move he himself described as ‘professional malpractice,’” said Dave Hoffman, campaign manager for investment manager and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Jim Barksdale. “Before he left on his vacation, Senator Isakson refused to vote for funding to combat Zika unless it also cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Senator Isakson is failing Georgia: He’s skipping hearings, ignores debates, and refuses to be held accountable for his record. This type of political gamesmanship is Washington at its worst and the self-proclaimed ‘hardest working Senator’ should know better.”

According to the CDC, Georgia is well within the range of two types of mosquitos that transmit Zika.

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