Senate approves budget deal containing $1.1 billion to fight Zika
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed a short-term budget deal today that includes $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, ending months of wrangling over the issue. The House is expected to approve the deal.
Zika funding had been held up as Democrats objected to a GOP provision that prevented money from going to a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Puerto Rico.
"We had a small victory today in our ongoing fight against the Zika virus,” said Sen. Bill Nelson. "The emergency spending approved today will help increase local mosquito-control efforts to contain the spread of the virus and allow federal researchers to continue their search for a vaccine. The threat we face from Zika is a true public health emergency and we need our local, state and federal agencies working together to put this money to use as quickly as possible."
Said Sen. Marco Rubio:
"This anti-Zika package rightfully prioritizes Americans in Florida and Puerto Rico, and I’m encouraged my calls for action have been answered, and that real assistance from the federal government is finally on its way. It's shameful it took so long and that this public health crisis was made worse by people playing political games in Washington. But I'm glad these critical resources are now moving forward so we can help the thousands of Americans suffering from this virus, step up our mosquito eradication efforts, and develop a vaccine to eradicate Zika for good.”