Clinton knocks congressional Republicans over funding to fight Zika virus

Hillary Clinton knocked congressional Republicans on Friday for taking a scheduled two-week break without approving President Barack Obama’s requested $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has spread rapidly in Central and South America. The virus is particularly concerning because it has been linked to dangerous neurological birth disorder in newborns.

The World Health Organization estimates 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year.

“There is a lot we need to do, and fast. First and foremost, Congress should meet President Obama’s request for $1.8 billion in emergency appropriations to fight Zika,” Clinton said in a post on Medium, referring to the budget request the President made in February.

Congress is set to go on a two-week break this weekend and has yet to vote on the Zika funding. Congressional Republicans have suggested using funding from last year’s Ebola outbreak to fight the virus.

Clinton suggests that the plan is “senseless and dangerous.”

“Why would we lower our defenses against one public health threat in order to meet another one?” Clinton writes. “Congress needs to provide the funds to fight Zika now.”

Clinton writes that she is particularly concerned about the virus given the imminent warm weather and its impact on places like Florida and Puerto Rico.

“Zika is real. It’s dangerous. It’s already reached the United States,” Clinton concludes. “We need to act now to protect people, especially pregnant women.”

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