Florida politicians respond to Zika's spread in Tampa Bay
After Gov. Rick Scott confirmed Tuesday morning that someone became infected by Zika in Pinellas County, Florida politicians weighed in, largely calling on Congress to pass additional emergency money to fight the virus.
"For this virus endangering Floridians to now spread unabated to Pinellas County is inexcusable. Lives are in danger, particularly expectant mothers, children, and women planning to have children. We need clear solutions to this serious problem. First, Speaker Ryan must bring Congress back to Washington to do their job and pass a clean funding bill. Then, Florida must expand Medicaid to cover the 200,000 women in the coverage gap without access to affordable healthcare and who are at risk." --Former Gov. Charlie Crist
"Florida is at risk and Washington is tone deaf. Today’s news of a locally transmitted case of Zika in Pinellas County is another alarm that should prompt leadership to call members back to DC to address this public health issue. As a representative of a frontline state dealing with the Zika outbreak, I fully understand the serious public health risk this virus presents. But we must address this issue now, responsibly and without playing politics. This is a public health issue, not a political issue." --U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores
“The time for warnings and discussions about a potential public health crisis due to Zika is long past – the Congress must act. President Obama called on Congress six months ago to pass an emergency response package. Instead, House Republicans blocked meaningful action and then adjourned for the summer. My neighbors in Pinellas County and all Floridians need every tool to keep them safe as the Zika virus spreads. I urge House Republicans and Speaker Paul Ryan to reconvene the Congress immediately to pass an emergency Zika response package that can expedite necessary vaccines, diagnostic tests and development of the registry to track pregnant women who contract the Zika virus." --U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa
“Every day Congress remains in recess is a day wasted in the fight to protect Florida families from Zika. I have consistently fought for President Obama’s $1.9 billion emergency funding request and have demanded that Congress immediately return from recess to pass this funding. But on this global health crisis that directly impacts our state, Marco Rubio didn’t care until it was too late, and it’s not clear that he cares now." --U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter
“Local transmission of the Zika virus in Pinellas County underscores that this public health crisis is a statewide issue with statewide implications, which is why federal assistance and funding are so critical. We don’t know where or how this could pop up next, so the Obama Administration should reallocate more existing funds to efforts to eradicate Zika, and Congress should come together and pass the funding our health officials and experts need to get the job done.” --U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio