Congress Zika Virus

Zika Vaccine May Be Delayed by GOP Intransigence

Testing on a vaccine against the Zika virus is set to begin in January, but trials may be delayed if Congress does not pass a bill to fund the fight against the virus.

"It's going to take that much longer to prove that the vaccine works," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, who says testing next January on a promising vaccine faces delays. "If it takes that much longer to prove that it works then you take that much longer to get it out to the people who need it."

Considering that Congress will not send a bill to the president's desk before they adjourn for a 7-week recess, and given that Summer will nearly be over by the time they return to Washington in September, we have to consider the possibility that our Republican-controlled Congress will never pass a bill. Even when they do return in September, they will only be in session for a matter of weeks between that time and the end of the year.

It's entirely possible we will not see a Zika funding bill sent to the president's desk until nearly Christmas or perhaps even next year under a new Congress. If that is the case, vaccine testing may be delayed by a significant amount of time.

The best case scenario I can imagine is funding for the virus being attached to a continuing resolution that prevents the government from being shut down in October. The threat of a government shutdown may be just enough leverage the president and congressional Democrats need to pass funding.

  • Draxiar

    I’m really beginning to develop a primal hatred for these people. It may be time to unplug from the news for a while.

  • atlavely

    Maybe they saw the report from England vi the Washington Post that the Zika virus will burn itself out in three years. What could happen in three years, anyway?

  • muselet

    A Senate Democratic aide said Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Monday night broached a compromise with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to separate the Zika issue from a veterans funding bill, strip away the Planned Parenthood-related provision and dump a provision that would ease rules on pesticide spraying.

    In exchange, Democrats would have accepted a modest package of spending cuts to help defray the cost of the measure.

    McConnell, however, dismissed the offer, refusing to disavow the House GOP position on denying new money to Planned Parenthood and saying it is too late and too cumbersome to try to advance a new compromise measure in the days remaining before the recess. He said House Republicans would reject such a measure anyway in an apparent reference to the controversy over Planned Parenthood.

    “The time for a debate about the content of it is over,” McConnell said.

    It’s just too gosh-darned hard to do the job McConnell and the Senate Rs were elected to do in the few days left this year they’re actually planning on working, because the House Rs are certifiable.

    Leadership, Republican style. (Actual leadership not included.)


  • Badgerite

    So, the only infrastructure that the GOP is willing to invest in, and that includes spending to counter risks to public health from the spread of a virus, is a useless, friggin wall on the Mexican border.