Wasserman Schultz Urges House GOP To Pass Clean Zika Funding

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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Flanked by doctors and a pregnant woman who is living in fear of Zika, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged House Republicans to bring a clean bill to the floor to fund the fight against the virus.

“We have reached past the ‘I told you so moment’,” she told the gathering. “For months congressional Republicans have repeatedly put partisan politics before women’s health care by inserting provision in the Zika bills that would ban Planned Parenthood from receiving funds for protecting the public health.”

The congresswoman held her news conference at Nova Southeastern University in Davie where the doctors said we have to be better prepared for infections and need funding for education.

“The effects of Zika are going to be devastating. This is going to get worse,” said Dr. Aaron Elkin.

“This Zika virus has changed my daily life,” said Angel Small who is 29 weeks pregnant.

Small lives in Fort Lauderdale and said her routine has changed since she learned about Zika.

“Everyday I go out of the house, I have to spray bug spray, it’s terrifying, I don’t want my baby to have microcephaly and the life long consequences of that,” said Small.

There is currently a $1.1 billion Zika funding bill before Congress, however it’s unclear if Republicans and Democrats will see eye to eye before the session adjoins in three weeks.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she believes this is the week that lawmakers will pass Zika funding.

“Maybe it won’t be the president’s $1.9 billion Zika funding but it will be pretty darn close, it will be $1.1 billion. I really think in just a few days time we will say Zika funding is done and now let’s get the money here to South Florida where we really need it,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said lawmakers are close to reaching a deal on a Zika-funding bill.

“I am here to share with the Senate that I think we have finally found a path forward to fund the fight against Zika,” Nelson announced on the Senate floor Monday afternoon. “The specifics are still being worked out. But it seems that there will be a deal and we will soon be able to move forward on doing what we tried to do last summer, which is fund the crisis that we know as the Zika crisis.”

Early Monday morning, planes and helicopters took to the air in Broward’s proactive battle against mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus.

The aerial assault over six targeted areas; Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, Tamarac and unincorporated central Broward, deployed an organic spray to kill mosquito larvae. The spray is not harmful to humans or animals.

A second round of aerial spraying was conducted over Miami Beach on Sunday using the controversial insecticide Naled.

As of Friday, there were 56 non-travel related cases of the virus in Florida and 616 travel-related cases. About 84 pregnant women in the state have been infected with Zika.

So far, the local transmission zones in Miami-Dade are the following:

  • Wynwood Area – NW 22nd St. at the South, NE 2nd Ave to NE 23rd St. at the east; NW 3rd Ave to the west; and NE 36th St to the north.
  • Miami Beach Area – 28th Street to the north, 8th Street to the south, intercoastal water to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Click here for more information on the Zika virus or here for more Zika-related stories.

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