Reid: Congress should back Obama on Zika funding
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Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) is urging his colleagues to support the Obama administration's request for $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus. 
 
"It's critical that we approve the funds now immediately and give our government the resources it needs to fight the virus," Reid said Monday. He added that he was "encouraged" by the president's request, which comes days after Senate Democrats urged him to be more aggressive.
 
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With the virus linked to birth defects, Reid suggested the U.S. government's response should also include increasing access to contraceptives. 
 
Obama's funding request comes as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE is expected to brief Senate leadership, as well as top committee members, on Tuesday. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 6B defense bill Poll: Kim Jong Un has higher approval among Republicans than Pelosi The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix MORE (R-Ky.) said he hoped to get a better understanding of what the administration is currently doing and what the administration's "funding priorities" are during Tuesday's meeting. 
 
Of the $1.8 billion the president is requesting, $1.48 billion is expected to go to HHS, with most of that going to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 
 
The briefing comes amid increasing concern from lawmakers over the potential for a U.S. outbreak of the Zika virus, particularly as the United States heads toward summer. Administration officials have suggested that any outbreak in the United States would be limited.
 
As of last Friday, the Zika virus had infected 51 people in the United States, with most of the cases originating abroad.