DON’T PANIC

GOP Rep. David Jolly Brings 100 Mosquitoes to Congress

A Florida Republican on Wednesday brought a jar of 100 mosquitoes from his home state to the House floor to make a point about the Zika virus outbreak, which still has no federal funding for an emergency response. “This is the fear of Floridians, right here,” said Rep. David Jolly. “This is the reason for the fear.” The jar’s inhabitants likely were not infected with the virus, but, he said, “they could be.” He added, “Can you imagine, colleagues, the fear and anxiety in this chamber if these hundred mosquitoes were outside this jar not inside this jar?”

Asked about his show-and-tell item after the speech, Jolly confirmed they were, in fact, uninfected Aedes aegypti—the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. “The University of South Florida has a lab where they cultivate them and research them,” he explained to The Daily Beast. “So they packaged them up for me, we flew up with them yesterday, thanks to American Airline, they didn’t know about it, probably broke a law in there somewhere.” Jolly said his point was to make it as real for the members of Congress as it is for his constituents as well as his own family. “It was because this is such a regional issue that we understand the urgency and anxiety in Florida, we feel it every day. But it’s lost on members from communities that aren’t impacted by it and my very real point was to say if I was to release these mosquitoes here today, you would understand the urgency,” he said, later adding: “We have a case probably five miles from me, my wife and I are hoping to have a family. This is real.”

—Jackie Kucinich