Obama Diverts $500M From Zika Response To U.N. Climate Fund

In February, President Obama said we should not “panic over Zika.”

At the same time, he asked Congress for $1.8 billion in funding for the resources to combat the Zika virus, the pathogen spreading rapidly through the Americas that can cause birth defects and neurological problems. In a rare display of fiscal restraint, Congress granted $622 million (mainly from unused Ebola response money).

However, as negotiations continue for even more Zika funding between these two branches of government, it seems that $500 million of those taxpayer dollars initially allotted now sits in the coffers of the United Nations.

The Obama administration siphoned $500 million that could have gone toward combating the Zika virus into a United Nations effort aimed at mitigating climate change.

Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.) wrote in an op-ed published in the Daily Signal that the Senate last year granted Obama the authority to pay for a response to Zika, but his administration chose instead to allocate those funds toward the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.

As a reminder, that $500 million is the first installment of $3 billion that Obama agreed to turn over as part of the UN Paris climate conference deal.

Let’s do a little risk assessment to determine if that money was well spent!

Today’s Zika news includes the following:

  • Zika has blanketed three-quarters of Puerto Rico over the past six months,and health authorities expect it to keep spreading now that it is prime mosquito season. It is estimate that one-quarter of the island’s population will be infected by the time that season is over.

  • There are currently 189 recorded cases of the Zika virus in New York State, including one just reported in the state capital of Albany.

  • In Jamaica, all pregnant women are to be tested for the virus.