Governors urge Congress to act on Zika funding

Governors urge Congress to act on Zika funding

The nation’s governors are pressing Congress for “swift” action to approve new funding to fight the Zika virus. 

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“As Congress returns from recess today, the nation’s governors urge the Administration and Congress to work together to reach agreement on the appropriate funding levels needed to prepare for and combat the Zika virus,” the National Governors Association (NGA) said in a statement.  

“We also ask they act as expeditiously as possible to ensure those funds are available to states, territories and the public at large.”

Public health experts have been warning that the virus will ramp up in the continental United States as the weather gets warmer. 

“The nation is on the threshold of a public health emergency as it faces the likely spread of the Zika virus,” the NGA said. “As with all such emergencies, advance planning and preparation is essential to prevent injury and death.” 

Republican lawmakers, particulalry in the House, have resisted approving emergency funding requeseted by the White House.

Before the recess, Democrats accused Senate Republicans of backing away from talks over a potential $1.1 billion deal. The White House has been pushing for a larger amount, $1.9 billion.

The NGA did not specify a dollar amount that it is asking for. 

U.S. health experts have said that they expect the virus to be contained to clusters in the southern United States, while acknowledging that the virus is unpredictable. It is linked to serious birth defects in babies that harm development.