Florida Republicans: We Need Zika Money Now

Now that more than 400 Floridians have been infected with Zika, Republicans in the state are pleading with their party’s national leaders to convene an emergency session to fund a rescue package to fight the virus. Congress left for the summer without passing billion-dollar legislation after it became bogged down in partisan bickering. Now many are expressing concern, including Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Dennis Ross, who has asked his party to fully fund President Obama’s entire $1.9 billion proposal. Curbelo has called the initial response to the health crisis “inadequate and irresponsible.” And with more pressure from constituents and a new influx of home-grown cases, Curbelo said this week, “I don’t care how it gets passed, it just needs to get passed.” He added, “There is so much anger and frustration in our country because most Americans feel they cannot count on the government to do very simple things… Congress has to show competence—and funding a response to a serious public health threat seems to me a very simple stand for ‘competence.’” Two possible cases of Zika infections were reported in Miami Beach on Thursday evening, putting even more pressure on officials as a multibillion-dollar tourist industry could be threatened.