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.