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White House, Obama Administration Officials, Congressional Democrats Urge Republican Movement On Emergency Zika Funding

Bloomberg: Zika Fight Starts to Bite Republicans Ahead of Mosquito Season
“Senate Republican leaders entered this week hoping to act quickly to fight the Zika virus, but ran into internal feuding and now face the prospect of political fallout in election battleground states like Florida. Talks with Democrats on an emergency spending package stalled and lawmakers now anticipate doing nothing before they leave on a one-week recess at the end of the week…” (Dennis, 4/26).

CNN: Democrats turn up the heat on Republicans to act on Zika
“The political battle over Zika funding intensified Tuesday as congressional Democrats and the White House amped up pressure on Republicans to pass money aimed at combating the dangerous virus that is spreading north to the United States…” (Barrett/Walsh, 4/26).

CQ News: Zika Funding Squabble Engulfs Senate, House, and White House
“…The White House joined in the attack on the GOP. Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama administration officials ‘don’t take much solace’ in Senate Republicans’ plans to attach Zika money to a regular appropriations bill that likely will never reach Obama’s desk, adding that to tie a Zika funding bill to an ‘inept’ budget process means the legislation is ‘destined to fail’…” (McCrimmon/Shutt, 4/26).

The Hill: Rift opens in GOP over Zika funding
“Congressional Republicans are split on whether to provide emergency funding to fight the Zika virus. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) cast doubt on the emergency request Tuesday, saying he thinks the issue should be dealt with through the regular appropriations process. That would mean new funds have to wait until Oct. 1. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are working with Democrats toward a deal that could make new Zika funding available well before then…” (Sullivan, 4/26).

The Hill: Senate Dems: Skip break, pass Zika funding
“… ‘I believe this is a serious public health challenge, so serious we should not leave Congress this week and take a recess without passing the president’s emergency budget supplemental for public health and the Zika virus,’ Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. ‘The mosquitoes are not going to be on recess next week.’ Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) added senators ‘can’t go on break without taking care of this emergency’…” (Carney, 4/26).

The Hill: McCarthy casts doubt on emergency Zika funding
“… ‘There is enough money there especially to deal with (it) this year,’ McCarthy said. ‘So if we’re going through the proper appropriations process this year, it’s the best way to handle it, best place to get the answers’…” (Sullivan, 4/26).

NBC News: Congress Struggles to Get a Deal to Pay for Zika Virus Defense
“…The top U.S. health officials say [Zika is] an emergency and the White House has asked for $1.9 billion to pay for preparations, to develop vaccines, tests, treatments, to fight mosquitoes, and to train health experts to recognize and deal with cases. … ‘The American people are counting on the Congress to act. And instead we have gotten bureaucratic excuses from Congress as to why they have done nothing,’ White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday…” (Fox, 4/26).

New York Times: Senate Nears Deal for at Least $1.1 Billion to Fight Zika Virus
“Senate negotiators on Tuesday moved closer to an agreement to provide at least $1.1 billion in emergency financing to combat the rapidly spreading Zika virus, which public health officials warn poses an imminent threat in the United States, but House Republicans said they were still not ready to approve additional funds…” (Herszenhorn, 4/26).

POLITICO: Kevin McCarthy: No standalone emergency Zika bill
“…Congressional Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have blasted Republicans for failing to pass supplement emergency funding to combat the spreading virus. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, for example, warned Monday of the increasing threat to the American public should Congress fail to provide funding, pointing to 500 confirmed cases of Zika discovered just south of Florida, in Puerto Rico…” (Bade/Everett, 4/26).

Reuters: White House urges Congress to move on Zika funding
“Two senior Obama administration officials wrote congressional leaders on Tuesday to urge legislation be passed to fund the fight against the Zika virus, as concerns mount the United States will soon face locally transmitted cases of the disease. … ‘Without significant additional appropriations … the nation’s efforts to comprehensively respond to the disease will be severely undermined,’ Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, and Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in the letter…” (Gardner, 4/26).

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