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Sens. Nelson, Rubio Worry Zika Legislation Could Take Weeks

Jul 8, 2016 | News

WASHINGTON — It could be weeks before Congress passes a funding plan to address the growing threat posed by the Zika virus, and the delay is drawing fire from Florida’s senators.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio took to the Senate floor to express his displeasure, as well. He said Congress’ week-long break following Memorial Day will exacerbate the situation.
“Even though the problem has been steadily getting worse, Congress has refused to treat it with the urgency that I believe it deserves,” Rubio said. “So I urge the American people to make next week a tough one on those who are home from Congress, who have refused to take meaningful action to confront Zika. They need to hear from you.”
Last week, separate bills funding anti-Zika efforts were passed by the House ($622 million) and the Senate ($1.1 billion). Nelson and Rubio said they back President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion request but could live with the Senate bill for now.
Rubio cited health experts who say there’s a good chance that within the next month, someone will contract Zika through exposure in the continental United States. So far, the more than 500 cases reported on the mainland involve someone who got the disease elsewhere.
The Florida Department of Health reported two more cases in the state Tuesday, one in St. Johns County and one in Seminole County. That brings the total number of cases in the Sunshine State to 154, by far the highest number for any state.

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