The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Obama’s demands for funds to combat Zika, but even the onset of mosquito season that probably will spread the virus has failed to create any sense of urgency.
Republicans from states at the greatest risk, such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, have been slow to endorse President Obama’s ongoing request for $1.9 billion to battle the Zika virus, which causes grave birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently reports more than 470 cases are in the continental U.S., all so far associated with travel to Zika-affected areas.
The one voice that has been heard supporting the President is Senator Marco Rubio. Thus far, Rubio’s urgency on Zika is not widely shared, though Senator John Cornyn of Texas, drew attention when he told reporters in Houston last month that “the risk of underreacting is really too high to take any chances.”
Unfortunately, to date it appears the White House won’t get anything approaching its $1.9 billion request for emergency money to battle Zika. Senate Republicans privately floated a $1.1 billion Zika-fighting measure, but House Republicans are likely to press for a lesser amount, and require offsetting spending cuts elsewhere in the budget, an idea that the administration has not ruled out.
Source: Associated Press