2929 3rd Ave N, Ste 300, Billings, MT 59101 - (406) 252-2550

House Passed Zika Bill Bad for Tribes

July 1, 2016


June 23, 2016
House Passed Zika Bill Bad for Tribes
The Conference Report that authorizes $1.1 billion for Zika virus response – but, fails to protect the Indian Health Service funding or create a path for Tribal-specific funding – passed the U.S. House of Representatives early Thursday morning. The House passed the Conference Report mostly on party lines and the bill now goes to the Senate Floor for consideration.  Conference Reports cannot be amended. So, we must find a new path forward.
The final House-passed version still has pieces that may hurt the Tribes and does not create a direct, assured funding path for Tribes to fight this health threat.  Specifically, the House achieved some of the $750 million offset by cutting into administrative funding at U.S. Department and Health and Human Services. This includes the Non-Recurring Expense Fund which, in recent years, supplemented facilities construction and maintenance in the Indian Health Service (IHS) – a top budget priority for Tribes.  Also, Tribes would have to get funding from the states to fight Zika, rather than receive direct funding.
This version of Zika virus funding legislation is not adequate to meet the needs of Indian Country, or the rest of the nation. Tribes must receive direct funding for mosquito control, surveillance of the disease, laboratory activities, and public education efforts.
The final Zika virus legislation would provide $1.1 billion for:
  • $476 million – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) There is no set aside or mention of direct funding for Tribes. If passed, more work will need to be done directly with the CDC to ensure that Tribes are prepared for this public health emergency and receive funds to address it.
  • $230 million – National Institutes of Health (NIH) This funding is allocated for vaccine research and development.
  • $95 million – Social Services Block Grant to the States This funding is available to states, territories, or Tribal lands with active or local transmission cases of the Zika virus, as confirmed by the CDC to be used for health services, public health departments and hospitals. However, Tribes are not directly eligible for Social Services Block Grants. If passed, more work will need to be done directly with states and the Administration to ensure that Tribes receive any funding to conduct Zika prevention and mitigation efforts.
  • $300 million – Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and community health centers in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories most at-risk for Zika.
1) Call your Senators today and urge them to include federally recognized Indian Tribes in direct Zika funding. Use these TALKING POINTS to help tell your own story and that of Indian Country.
2)  To determine who your Senators are, please visit www.senate.gov.
Be sure to share your outreach efforts on Zika virus funding with NIHB to help us track and bolster this effort. Contact Michelle Castagne, Congressional Relations Associate with NIHB, at mcastagne@nihb.org or (202) 507-4083 with any questions.
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) has been working with federal and national partners on a comprehensive national Zika response plan. As such, a new series of webpages featuring materials on the Zika virus and the potential responses for Tribal communities.   

Last modified: July 1, 2016