Some Candidates Renew Push for Zika Funding

Campaign for Cures

The Campaign for Cures Election 2016 blog features news, analysis, commentary and data about the presidential candidates and congressional races in key states on issues relevant to medical progress. Janice Lloyd, former USA Today senior editor and health reporter, manages The Campaign for Cures blog. You can reach Janice at   Follow Campaign for Cures, a national voter education initiative, on Twitter and Facebook and visit

Some Candidates Renew Push for Zika Funding

Janice Lloyd

As the number of Zika cases in the United States continues to rise, many politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for action to be taken before funding runs out.

President Barack Obama and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called on Congress this week to return early from its summer recess and pass legislation funding the effort to combat the mosquito-borne disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning this week for pregnant women and women wanting to get pregnant to avoid a certain neighborhood in Miami where the virus is spreading. Meanwhile, several Olympians decided to skip the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which was an epicenter for the illness that can lead to underdeveloped brains in babies. The Games officially get under way today, but U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo was jeered by Brazil’s fans shouting “Zika, Zika, Zika’’ in the women’s opener this week. She had voiced concern about attending the Olympics because of the illness.

President Obama said Thursday at a press conference funding is running out. “Fighting Zika costs money,’’ he said, urging Congress to come back and pass a bill.

In a nutshell, here’s where the bill stands. The Senate approved a $1.1 billion package before the recess, but the House rejected that plan. House speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have said that they've done their job by coming up with a $1.1 billion package, which Democrats have refused to support.

However, PolitiFact notes that Republicans chose to add an anti-abortion provision during conference committee that Democrats had warned would be a non-starter.

Rubio was asked a news conference in the swing state this week why his party’s presidential candidate won’t take a stand on Zika. Rubio said he thinks “this is a big issue for anyone seeking political office.”

Trump, who campaigned in two Florida cities this week, said Zika is a “big problem,’’ but added the state’s Republican Governor Rick Scott has done a great job. “He probably already has it under control,’’ Trump said. He didn’t offer a position on whether Congress should reconvene.

The Boston Globe reports Description: Juan Fiol, Trump’s vice chairman for Miami-Dade County, is betting most voters don’t care enough about Zika to warrant Trump’s attention.

“We have bigger mosquitoes to squash than Zika — like ISIS, the national debt, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” Fiol said at a Trump party in downtown Miami. “We have a wall to build to keep the illegals out. We have so many other issues that are more important than this.”

During a campaign stop in Florida this week, Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, called on Congress to end its recess and deal with the public health emergency: “To Hillary Clinton, this is a huge worry.”

Clinton has made the fight against Zika a priority. She published an op-ed in the Florida Sun Sentinel this week discussing what her team of staffers discovered when they went to Puerto Rico to study how to stop Zika’s spread and what steps she’d take to protect the country. The first step, she wrote, is Congress needs to act: “emergency funding will be required to stop the spread of the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and the health crisis looming over the United States.”

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Presidential Candidates Should Participate in Debate on Science

Source: A Research!America and poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in September 2015.