McConnell presses Obama to fight Zika virus

McConnell presses Obama to fight Zika virus
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) is pressing President Obama to move aggressively to combat the spread of the Zika virus.

McConnell on Tuesday warned that Obama needs to act now before panic grips the country, as it did when the Ebola virus dominated headlines in 2014.

“We need to get out in front of the Zika virus to make sure that we don’t end up having the kind of feeling across the country that we’re sort of reacting too late, like we did on Ebola,” he said.

McConnell and Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.) met Obama at the White House on Tuesday to discuss possible areas of cooperation in the last year of his administration.

McConnell pointed to legislation addressing opioid abuse as a promising candidate for floor action. He said the Senate will be addressing it “in the very near future.”

The leaders also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Puerto Rico's fiscal woes and an ambitious mission headed by Vice President Biden to combat cancer.

McConnell said he and Obama agreed to continue talking about the trade agreement, but reiterated his concerns and advised that it wait until after this fall's elections.

“What we agreed to do is to continue to talk about it. The Speaker is a free trader. I’m a free trader and obviously the president is as well. There are number of flaws here. We’re going to keep on talking about it and see if there’s a way forward,” he said.

The leaders did not discuss an authorization for use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which Obama requested from Congress in December.