Alameda Sun: Zika Virus Infects Veterans Projects, September 22, 2016
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has still not received its 2016 budget allocation of $70 million to build new facilities at Alameda Point. This week marks nine months since the federal budget was signed into law on Dec. 18, 2015. Efforts in the House and Senate to authorize getting the VA’s money released were hindered in July when Senate Republicans attached a bill to fund stopping the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus to the VA construction bill.
The Zika bill included restrictions that do not allow the use of Zika funds at Planned Parenthood clinics and a waiver on following Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for pesticide spraying to kill mosquitoes. Senate Democrats prevented passage of the Zika/VA bill by voting against it, due to the Planned Parenthood and EPA clauses. Both parties are pointing fingers.
“Unfortunately, federal funding for Alameda Point has become a victim of the do-nothing Republican Congress,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I fought to ensure that these funds were appropriated to ensure high-quality and timely healthcare services for our veterans. Sadly, the other party’s unwillingness to work across the aisle has stopped the authorization of funding from moving forward.”