Senate Nears $1.1 Billion Deal To Help Fight Zika Virus

| by Nicholas Roberts
Zika virus rashZika virus rash

On April 26, the U.S. Senate moved closer to approving a $1.1 billion deal which would be used to help the United States combat the spreading Zika virus.

The White House warned House Republicans hesitant to approve the funds that they are putting future U.S. lives at risk, since the mosquitoes carrying the disease could arrive in the country before the money does, according to The New York Times.

"This is an emergency," said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

"The American people are counting on Congress to act. And instead, we've gotten bureaucratic excuses."

Earlier in April, the Obama Administration moved $510 million which was previously allocated to fighting Ebola to help fight Zika instead.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said that legislators understand the threat that Zika poses.

"We made a down payment on the work on this virus based on the Ebola funds," he said.

"And we’re going to do everything that’s necessary in a responsible way to deal with this threat because we know it's real."

Senate Democrats accused Republicans of stalling and said they were holding out for President Obama's request of $1.9 billion to help fight the disease.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said:

"There is no deal. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know who has seen it. We have an outline of it, but it’s not enough. We want $1.9 billion. That’s what it takes."

About 400 American travelers have contracted Zika from abroad, and U.S. health officials warn that the mosquitoes carrying the disease will soon arrive in the U.S.

“This is an emergency,” Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said of the issue.  Florida is expected to be among the first hit by the virus.

In a floor speech, Mr. Reid called for urgent action to be undertaken on the issue.

"We have all seen the pictures of these babies with these small heads caused by a mosquito bite. Sadly, the worst is on its way."

Sources: The New York Times / Photo Credit: Cramunhao/Wikimedia Commons

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