House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) announced that he will release a stand-alone Zika funding bill on Monday, May 16. He declined to offer a specific dollar figure, but said it would be lower than the $1.1 billion emergency funding proposal in the Senate. Chairman Rogers has insisted that the package be offset by cuts to other programs or by reprogramming. On the Senate side, lawmakers are expected to take votes on three different Zika aid packages on Tuesday. Two of the measures are emergency funding packages and one from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) contains offsets. See The Arc’s action alert.
Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) will host separate briefings today on “What You Need to Know About Zika and Birth Defects.” Panelists will be Coleen Boyle, Director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; Cynthia Moore, Director of the CDC Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders; and Dr. Kristy Murray, Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine. Panelists will discuss what scientists are learning about adverse birth outcomes associated with the Zika virus and what CDC and partner organizations around the world are doing to learn more.
The Coalition on Human Needs is sponsoring a webinar, Child Lead Poisoning: Preventable Harm, on Tuesday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The lead poisoning of children and adults in Flint, Michigan has focused the nation’s attention on the increased risk for developmental delay and disability from contamination of the water supply. Lead in water affects many communities nationwide, and that lead from paint in older buildings is an even more prevalent source of child poisoning. This webinar will provide expert evidence about the consequences of lead poisoning in children, examples of work being done in Flint and Philadelphia to prevent it, and timely information about Congressional proposals to fund the solutions. Please register here.
On July 9, a bipartisan group of 26 Senators sent a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize its rulemaking regarding a class of toxic flame retardant chemicals. Flame retardants are toxic chemicals suspected to cause developmental problems, neurological deficits, cancer, and impaired fertility. The letter also acknowledges that the EPA has limited authority to fully protect the public from these toxic chemicals under the current Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and calls for reforms to the law to adequately protect American families from dangerous chemicals. Under the TSCA of 1976, the burden is on the EPA to prove chemicals are dangerous, rather than on companies to prove they are safe. The law requires manufacturers to submit safety data only if they have it. Most don’t, resulting in the EPA knowing little, if anything, about the safety of most of the 84,000 industrial compounds in use in the U.S. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), would reform the law by requiring chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and EPA to evaluate safety based on the best available science. The Arc supports the Safe Chemicals Act. Learn more at Safer Chemicals, Healthier Communities, a diverse coalition of organizations of which The Arc is a member.