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Rep. Gutiérrez Makes Urgent Appeal to GOP for Puerto Rico Zika Funding

By on July 12, 2016

SAN JUAN – Citing alarming statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the extent to which the Zika virus is spreading in Puerto Rico, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) wrote Republican leaders in the House and Senate urging them to take “immediate action to fully fund the President’s $1.9 billion emergency request…and to grant Puerto Rico the desperate relief and assistance needed to fully and aggressively combat this epidemic.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported nearly 2,400 Zika cases, 44 hospitalizations, and one death so far in Puerto Rico alone. In addition, the CDC estimates more than 20 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million people will contract Zika this summer and that 50 pregnant Puerto Rican women are infected with the virus every day.  With these alarming statistics, it is critical to coordinate a response to protect and educate Puerto Rican citizens, including resources in both English and Spanish.”

In this photo, Democratic Party's representative Luis Gutierrez. (Screenshot / YouTube)

In this photo, Democratic Party’s representative Luis Gutierrez. (Screenshot / YouTube)

“Especially in this time of economic crisis in Puerto Rico, Republican leaders need to be reminded that during their long summer vacation, a lot of people will get sick,” Gutiérrez said in a statement.  “If the protection of unborn children is of the utmost priority to these Republican leaders as they say, they have a chance to prove it by aggressively going after Zika, rather than playing politics and partisanship as usual.”

In his letter, the congressman wrote, “It is vital that we act now to prevent the spread of Zika as much as possible and to invest in critical resources to develop a vaccine and mitigate the risks presented by mosquitos through vector control.”  The letter was addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).

Gutiérrez concluded his letter:  “It is my hope that Congress will act swiftly in helping the people of Puerto Rico in their time of need as American citizens, before it is too late. Time is of the essence for Puerto Rico.”

Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  His wife and parents were born in Puerto Rico.

Letter: 071116 Zika PR Letter to GOP Ldrs from Gutierrez

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