Dem Congressman Soto’s Good-for-Florida Bill to Eradicate Mosquito-Borne Diseases Moves to Trump’s Desk

By KEVIN DERBY Sunshine State News

Darren Soto

Darren Soto

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., scored a win this week when his proposal to help the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government agencies at the state and local levels advanced to President Donald Trump’s desk. 

Congress passed the “Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act” this week which included Soto’s “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 $100 million in CDC grants to battle mosquitoes through 2023 and ensuring those grants are more focused on battling mosquito-borne diseases, prioritizing areas facing health crises. 

Soto brought out the proposal early in 2017 during his first months in Congress and he brought it back earlier this year. After his bill passed both chambers on voice votes this week, the Orlando Democrat weighed in on his legislation. 

“We’re incredibly proud this bipartisan legislation passed in Congress and now urge President Trump to promptly sign this bill into law,” said Soto. “Infectious diseases caused by mosquitoes, like Zika and West Nile virus, continue to be a growing threat to public health. That’s why it’s crucial to study the impact and prevention programs for mosquito-borne and other vector-borne diseases, and this bill accomplishes these goals.”

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., co-sponsored the proposal when Soto brought the bill back this year.  When he first brought out the bill in 2017, Soto rounded up a dozen co-sponsors from the Sunshine State. Florida Republican Congressmen Carlos Curbelo — who was defeated in 2018 — and Matt Gaetz were behind the bill. So were 10 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.