Gov. Scott to take Zika funding fight to Washington
Frustrated with the failure of federal lawmakers to act on Zika, Gov. Rick Scott announced today he is headed back to Washington D.C. to lobby members of Congress on the urgent need for passage of a Zika funding bill.
Scott plans to go to Washington on Sept. 6. It comes as the state is working to combat two areas in Miami-Dade County where health officials have confirmed mosquitoes are spreading the virus. The state is also investigating cases of locally transmitted infections in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties that were confirmed this week.
Scott has allocated $26.2 million in emergency state funds to fight the spread of the virus in Florida. More than $23 million of that has already been allocated to county health departments and for mosquito control efforts.
“During Congress’s vacation, we have identified 43 cases of locally acquired Zika in four Florida counties,” Scott said in a statement. “The Zika virus demands immediate federal action and I will impress upon our congressional members the urgency to protect our residents and visitors.”
Scott made the same trip back in May when the only Zika cases in Florida were the result of travel to countries or areas where the virus is common.
But lawmakers earlier this summer failed to agree on both a request from President Barack Obama for $1.9 billion for anti-Zika efforts and a U.S. Senate plan that would have allocated $1.1 billion.
“The health and safety of Florida’s families cannot be overshadowed by partisan politics,” Scott said. “Our state has several requests that the Obama Administration has repeatedly failed to fulfill and I expect the president to work with his federal agencies and Congress to fully fulfill these requests quickly.”