Sunshine State News: Darren Soto Wants CDC to Have More Authority Taking on Mosquitos
Almost half of the Florida congressional delegation is backing U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s, D-Fla., proposal to help the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government agencies at the state and local levels.
Towards the end of last week, Soto unveiled the “Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act.” According to Soto’s office, the bill “supports and expands programs for mosquito-borne and vector-borne disease, surveillance and control” by extending CDC grants to battle mosquitos through 2023 and ensuring those grants are more focused on battling mosquito-borne diseases, prioritizing areas facing health crises.
Talking about why he had brought out the bill, Soto pointed to the Zika problems Florida faced last year.
“During the recent outbreak of Zika, instead of strengthening this program, Congress decided to provide money solely for mosquito control to combat Zika. When that money runs out, that’s it,” Soto said. “Instead of waiting for another crisis necessitating another expensive one-off Band-Aid bill, we should make the urgent investments needed to maintain the tools we already have.”
Soto rounded up a dozen co-sponsors from the Sunshine State. Florida Republican Congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Matt Gaetz are behind the bill. So are ten congressional Democrats from the Sunshine State as U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson lined up as co-sponsors. Outside of the Florida delegation, U.S. Rep. E Perlmutter, D-Col., is also an original co-sponsor.
Soto’s bill was sent to the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there is no related bill in the U.S. Senate.
First elected to Congress in 2016 after serving in both chambers of the Florida Legislature for almost a decade, Soto represents all of Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk Counties.