Washington to take up Zika funding this week but plans vary greatly
WASHINGTON - The House and Senate this week are expected to take up measures to provide federal funds to fight the Zika virus, but various proposals differ greatly, setting up a fight that will test the clout of Florida lawmakers.
House Republicans plan to introduce on Monday a plan that provides less than $1 billion and would take the money from other areas of the budget.
“It's adequate funding to face the problem," Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., told reporters on Friday.
House Democrats are demanding the amount sought by President Obama: $1.9 billion.
Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are pushing for the full amount but there are competing plans in that chamber set to come up on Tuesday.
A bipartisan Senate compromise plan calls for $1.1 billion and is favored to pass.
There’s also a $1 billion plan from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, which calls for budget offsets, meaning other spending would have to be cut.
Nelson and Rubio have both pushed to raise alarms about the virus, which is hitting Florida hardest, and last week Gov. Rick Scott was in Washington to lobby as well. But Scott underscored the division over the amount when he declined to take a stance on various plans and rather called for action.