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May 15, 2016: Will Congress Act Quickly Enough to Fight Zika?

According to Rebecca Shabad “Congress is facing growing pressure to pass an emergency package to fund efforts to fight the Zika virus — officials are concerned it could be transmitted for the first time in the U.S. this summer through mosquito bites.

“Three months have passed since the Obama administration first asked lawmakers for money, and while they haven’t acted yet, the Senate is expected to vote next week on a deal struck on Thursday. There’s no guarantee, however, that it will satisfy the administration.

“At this point, no one has contracted Zika in the U.S. through mosquito bites, but at least 472 people have reported returning home with symptoms after traveling and more than 650 people have been infected with the virus in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, American Samoa and U.S. Virgin Islands.

“It can be as early as early 2018 or it could be a couple of years after that. It’s very difficult to predict," he said Thursday, as he headed to Capitol Hill again to testify before lawmakers about funding.

“The Senate will have its chance to vote on the administration’s full request. As part of an agreement reached Thursday, the Senate will vote Tuesday on three Zika-related amendments that would be attached to a transportation and military construction spending bill next week. The first is the full $1.9 billion, which most Republicans are expected to oppose. The second is a GOP proposal that would provide $1.1 billion in Zika funding, but would be offset with $1.2 billion in spending cuts to an Obamacare prevention fund. The third might have the best chance of passage: a bipartisan $1.1 billion measure with no offsets.

But because that third proposal is $800 million less than what the White House is asking for, it could face some hurdles.”

Source: CBS News

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