MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With three weeks to go before the close of the session, the U.S. Senate may be close to passing a Zika funding bill.
President Barack Obama originally requested Congress allocate $1.9 billion for the Zika fight in February but Congress had been unable to agree on a funding plan but that may change.
“Additional money to fight the Zika virus would be included in the continuing resolution which is the budget document that will hopefully move forward at least through December,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday.
The original legislation earmarked $1.1 billion to fund Zika research, development of a vaccine, and allocations for resources from spraying to Zika test kits to relief for business owners.
It’s likely there will be compromise legislation but probably for less and for a shorter period of time.
“The $1.1 billion that is being negotiated will be a big step in the right direction,” said Rubio.
Florida lawmakers may be quick to endorse anything that smacks on an agreement on Zika funding which runs out October 1st.
“We’ve got to get something passed. I don’t think it should be next week. I think it should be this week,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott who was in Washington pushing for an agreement on funding. “We need whatever it takes to get a vaccine.”
“I made a promise to the businesses that when I return to Congress that I would do all within my power to make sure a that before we left again we would have a clean Zika bill,” said U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson.
“We are here together Republicans, Democrats, all Floridians calling on the Senate to act which I understand they will very soon,’ said U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo.
The legislation is important to keep Zika testing. Miami Beach residents had an opportunity for free Zika tests. Many have been able to be tested at Miami Beach Police headquarters.
“I have been bitten many times by mosquitos, every day. I thought it would be a good idea to get tested. It is free,” said Miami Beach resident Roberto Carneiro.
“I think they should have done this a long time ago, just to ease the fears of the people,” said Miami Beach resident Alex Paulmer.
At last check, the Florida Department of Health announced that there were six new non-travel related cases of Zika in the state.
Four of the cases were confirmed to have come from Miami Beach.
One individual was identified within the Wynwood area and experienced symptoms of Zika in early August. This case is being announced today following confirmatory lab results.
One individual is a Miami-Dade resident and the department is investigating to determine where exposure occurred.
There were also 13 new travel-related cases Tuesday, including eight in Miami-Dade, one in Escambia, one in Hillsborough, one in Manatee, one in Monroe and one in Seminole.
To date, there have been 799 cases of Zika in the state. Of those, 634 are travel-related infections and 86 involve pregnant women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel advisories for a part of Miami Beach and the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.
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.