As Senate Takes Action to Address Zika Virus, Shaheen Renews Her Call for Emergency Funding to Address Opioid Addiction

May 17, 2016

**Today the Senate advanced more than $1 billion to address Zika but has yet to pass emergency funding for those on the frontlines of the opioid crisis** 

**Shaheen on opioid crisis: We need emergency funding, and we need it now**

You can watch Shaheen’s full remarks here.

(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. Senate advanced $1.1 billion in funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) expressed her support for the Zika funding, and following the vote renewed her call for emergency funding to address another public health emergency; the growing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic. Shaheen highlighted the continued unwillingness of Republican leadership to provide emergency funding to first responders and treatment providers who are working to stem the tide of an opioid addiction epidemic that is claiming a life a day in New Hampshire.

“Today, the Senate passed an amendment to provide more than $1 billion in emergency spending to help combat the Zika virus,” said Shaheen. “I support this effort. I think it was a good bill and I commend our leaders in the Appropriations Committee for reaching this bipartisan agreement.” 

Shaheen continued, “However, I join all of those who are disappointed that the opioid epidemic is not being treated with the same degree of urgency. Some on the other side of the aisle have said it’s their preference to deal with the opioid epidemic through the regular appropriations process. Let me just say that I’m not encouraged by the results so far. With all due respect to my colleagues, an extra million dollars here and there for a few programs isn’t going to do much to help address a nationwide crisis that will kill tens of thousands of Americans this year… That’s why we need emergency funding, and we need it now.”

Shaheen is leading the effort in Congress to pass emergency supplemental funding for those on the frontlines of the opioid addiction crisis. Her legislation would provide supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Shaheen has also led the charge for action to address the Zika virus. In January, Shaheen wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an aggressive response to Zika. She has also questioned top health officials in Senate hearings and spoken on the floor about the need to provide funding to those preparing for the spread of Zika. Shaheen heard directly from New Hampshire health officials in Concord on the need for resources to combat Zika. Earlier today, Shaheen wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO) raising her concern about the potential for the Olympics games in Brazil to greatly accelerate the global outbreak of Zika